If you thought that President Obama's speech last night signaled the beginning of the end of the war in Afghanistan, you weren't alone. Our goals in the country are "within reach" and "the tide has turned," the president said. Unfortunately, the pact he signed with Afghan president Hamid Karzai will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for another decade. Indeed, the number of loose ends and unfinished commitments are rather lengthy. Here's a reminder of what's in the pact and what's left to be done:
Pacify the Taliban Though the U.S. has acknowledged it won't exterminate the Taliban completely, it's also not willing to let the insurgency reclaim control of the country. As Global Post's Chris Sands reports today, that's going to be easier said than done. "Just outside the Afghan capital, the Taliban is in control and preparing for a wider war," according to Sands. He details a range of villages just an hour away from where the president spoke last night where the roadside bombs target NATO convoys and insurgents rule the land. "Similar situations can be found across rural Afghanistan," writes Sands. Additionally, attacks in Southern Afghanistan, near Kandahar, have increased in the last year alongside attacks attributed to the Haqqani network near Kabul, reports Sky News.