Nato has agreed to the Afghan plan, or so they say. As Lieutenant-Colonel David Eastman says, Afghan security forces are deemed to be sufficiently capable for the handover to begin next year, as Obama and Petraeus hope.
There are those who disagree - some doubt the Afghans, some doubt success itself. Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen may have to be added to that former group of dissenters. He said earlier today: ‘If the Taliban or anyone else thinks they can wait us out, they can forget it.’
The problem for those of Rasmussen’s thinking is that the Taliban can wait; Nato can’t. William Hague has reiterated the government’s promise that British troops will not be involved in Afghan combat operations beyond 2014, and Liam Fox has suggested that British troops could leave the most violent parts of Helmand before then. The die is cast, as they say.