And they are losing. “Green” and “blue” have been taking the fight to the red enemy, the Taliban, and the enemy is fighting back from a position of weakness. His forces have largely been ejected from most of the relevant population areas, and from among the most relevant terrain in Afghanistan, the Afghan people. Omar is losing financial support from donors, who are sending their money elsewhere, and from reduced drug profits, thanks to Afghan and coalition efforts to stamp out the poppy harvest. Finally, Afghan security forces are increasing in number and quality every day. The area controlled by allied and Afghan forces reaches into Taliban support zones that had long been inaccessible. With each atrocity, assassination and depredation inflicted on innocent Afghans, the insurgents further distance themselves from the Afghan people and their faith, for there is a distinctive Islamic prohibition against murdering innocent civilians or benefiting from the scourge of drugs and abject criminality.
This is playing out in another important color combination: white on red. The Afghan population is organizing to drive the hated Taliban from their villages. This movement is emerging in areas where the heavy hand of the Taliban has created a popular groundswell against the insurgents.
These trends speak well for the future of Afghanistan, but the international community should know these gains are fragile, and reversible, if we lose our will to succeed.