"I think we are on the timeline this year to have some real good news and make some significant progress," the Florida Republican said Monday in a conference call with reporters from Kabul. "But I think if you attach a date to it … you are really creating a difficult situation. The bad guys, the Taliban and even al-Qaida, must know all they have to do is wait."
I wonder whether these contra-timeline people ever think.
We want them to wait! Nothing could be more advantageous for the mission of ISAF than a Taliban force that's just waiting and thinking that waiting is all it needs to do to win!
So no, this is not at all about waiting or not. Maybe it's about confidence?
The Western-centric views of pundits, politicians and loudmouths blind them to an obvious fact: The Western troops are not the only enemies of the Taliban. They're probably not even their main enemy!
It's obvious that Western troops won't stay in substantial numbers in Afghanistan for decades; Afghanistan is simply too irrelevant and the 9/11 craze and thirst for revenge wears off even in the U.S..
The Afghans have no clue why Western troops in Afghanistan (almost none of them know about 9/11 according to polling) and North Americans/Europeans have no clue either (the majority seems to perceive the TB as the enemy when in fact the TB are merely the former hosts of the real enemy!).
The Western troops are going to leave eventually, and the Pashtu Taliban leadership surely understands that they will eventually need to prove their superiority over their Afghan opponents (Uzbeks, Tajiks) in order to regain official power.
The Western troops will most likely not win directly while they're in-country: The Taliban can tune their activity to a sustainable level, no matter how low or high. They can do it, we can at most force them to lower the level - an eradication or political victory is extremely unlikely.
The Western troops in AFG are primarily attempting to delay the almost inevitable showdown between indigenous factions till the supposedly pro-Western forces in the country are superior to the Taliban.
That looks like a stupid idea to me because both sides seem to become more powerful and the whole delay does primarily increase the odds that the showdown will be really, really brutal. The Afghan officials have furthermore no net incentive to work towards being officially "ready" to take on the Taliban on their own. Their insufficiency is the cause of a huge $$$ influx, after all!
In the end it's likely not about whether the Taliban are confident or not; it's about whether we get the conditions and timing of the showdown right.
The simplistic contra-timeline AND the simplistic pro-timeline people annoy the heck out of me with their primitive approaches to a conflict that's obviously well beyond their horizon.