Afghanistanisation and the Three Tiers of the Taliban
That's why some of the thinking outlined below is slightly worrying. Rushing things - as occurred under 'Vietnamisation' - will not improve the situation. At worst, it's merely a cover for an undignified retreat.
The battle of Musa Qula also has some uncomfortable analogies. Great that the town has been retaken - but why was it lost in the first place? That's just what went wrong in Vietnam: military victory on the ground was not backed up with long-term support. The Vietcong simply moved back in after the Americans left, as per Mao's doctrine of guerilla warfare.
The problem is that there are simply not enough NATO troops to do the job and the Afghan Army is not up to the job.
The concept is that there are three tiers in the Taleban. The top tier is made up of the irreconcilable leadership. The second tier consists of locally based commanders and the bottom tier are the ordinary foot soldiers.
It is the second tier that is being targeted and the hope is that middle level commanders will bring a lot of the third tier with them. Some 5,000 ex-Taleban fighters are said to have come over before...
The buzzwords being used about Afghanistan right now are - Afghanistan, localisation, reconciliation, and (an old one) reconstruction.