This detailed New York Times editorial on Afghanistan spells out five strategic issues that must be addressed before the conflict can reach a "minimally successful end."
A minimally successful end to the Afghan war depends on weakening the Taliban militarily and helping Afghanistan build up a government that won't implode as soon as American troops are gone.
President George W. Bush gave the war — and the rebuilding — shockingly short shrift. President Obama has devoted far more troops and resources, and the United States and NATO have made progress in clearing militants from southern strongholds and building up Afghan security forces. Afghanistan is still a very dangerous place. While overall violence is down, August was the deadliest month of the war for American troops, including several Navy Seal commandos who were killed when their helicopter was shot down.