The war in Afghanistan was lost before the first bomb was dropped or the first shot was fired. The strategy for winning was flawed from the beginning, and it got worse with the invasion of Iraq, and that strategy, along with the strategy for Iraq, is even worse today. America could have won the Afghan war; but not with the Commander in Chief or the General Staff that initiated the war. And America could still have won in 2010; but not with the Commander in Chief and General Staff that waged the war then and continues to wage it now.
What was needed was a Commander in Chief who would turn the war over to a general who understands and knows how to implement The Art Of War, and who understands that non Muslims can only win the hearts and minds of Muslims by surrendering to Islam.
General Colin Powell, as Secretary of State in the Bush Administration, articulated part of Sun Tzu's Art of War in what has become known as the Powell Doctrine for waging war: A fundamental interest, overwhelming force, clear objectives and exit strategies.
America went to war after the Afghanistan Taliban government refused to turn over Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The objective, which appeared to be clear at first, was to kill or capture Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership; and to destroy the Taliban government that supported Al Qaeda at all levels.
However, the Bush Administration had the broader, more nebulous, and unattainable goal of creating democracies throughout the entire Mideast. Not just democracies, but democracies that would be aligned with the United States. That goal, backed by the Neo Conservatives, resulted in what can only be called, Bush's Blunder.
The clear objective, to kill or capture Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership, which appeared to be reasonable and attainable, neglected a basic principle of Sun Tzu who said, "If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory you will suffer a defeat."
The Bush Administration knew America's strength, just as the Obama Administration knows America's strength. But neither Presidents, nor the Admirals or Generals or commanders knew the enemy then, and they do not know the enemy now. President Obama has stated that America has never been at war with Islam, and will never be at war with Islam. By this, the Commander In Chief of U.S forces refuses to acknowledge (or understand) that a significant element of Islam is already at war with America.
There will undoubtedly be loud cries of indignation and shouts of bigotry from those who believe Islam is not the enemy. They not only don't know the enemy, but refuse to know the enemy.
There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, in which "Muslim" means one who submits to Allah. All 1.6 billion Muslims believe that Islam is the true religion. All 1.6 billion Muslims believe that non Muslims are, in western terms, infidels; while those who are the "enemy" (at least 10% or 160 million Muslims) use the term, Kafir (plural Kufir) which are ingrates, rejecters who hide or cover up the truth by not accepting Allah, or Muhammad as "the prophet," while about 16 million consider the western Kafir as devils.
While the actual number of Muslim "fighters" who are "Allah's warriors" is unknown and probably number less than 100,000 worldwide, a war of attrition is unfeasible, if not impossible, because the fallen are easily replaced, or like a whack a mole, when they are destroyed in one area, appear in another, and there are between 16,000,000 and 160,000,000 Muslims to draw from.