We are attempting to install a federal system into a tribal culture and the results have not been, and will not be pretty.
I still want to know, from ardent supporters of this conflict.....why the fight in Afghanistan [and the subsequent nation building] is paramount to our national security; and how [without the vague party line] 'victory' can be achieved?
The ever erudite Abu Muqawama literally nails it, though himself a COIN-dinista and not favoring withdrawal:
In the next few days, I will post some thoughts on how the United States and its allies might adjust their strategy for Afghanistan based on the outcome of the Afghan elections. But as I have written, this really is the worst-case scenario: a small margin of victory for Karzai amidst widespread allegations of fraud. Prior to the election, this was considered to be the worst outcome for Afghanistan, the legitimacy of the Afghan government, and the international community.
When people look back on the Afghanistan war, this might be the moment when historians will judge we should have cut the cord on the Afghan government. If we believe Generals McChrystal and Petraeus, and we believe a counterinsurgency campaign to represent our best chance of success in Afghanistan, then we have a big problem. Because if we believe what we ourselves have learned about counterinsurgency campaigns, we understand that we cannot be successful in one if the host nation government is seen as increasingly illegitimate -- and that's what the Karzai government is.