I just watched a short film called "Rethinking Afghanistan". Fortunately, it's available to watch on the internet. It's only about 10 minutes long. I suggest that everyone who is concerned about the war being fought over there should watch this. "Rethinking Afghanistan" is the first film that I've seen that really gets it right.
In Afghanistan, the kinship bonds are stronger than the people's national identity. However, there is a saying in Arabic that (roughly translated) says "Me and my brother against my cousin; Me, my brother and my cousin against all others". The lesson that can be learned from this is that we will never get the people in Afghanistan to be on our side, unless we can become closer to them than the biggest force against them.
That's why the Taliban remains so strong. Even though they may dislike this "cousin", they are still closer to them than the American soldiers who are on their land. The Russians who fought there were closer to them than we are, yet we know how that invasion turned out. Eventually, Russia had to withdraw, but only after losing many soldiers and seriously weakening their military.
I realize that many Americans would like to believe that our military should have no difficulty defeating these people who are no more than dusty, desert dwellers in their eyes. They think that all we need to do is just send in the proper amount of troops and we can end this thing. Obama has already committed to increasing the troop levels over there and there's no shortage of people who are claiming that this is exactly what's needed. However, there are others who think that is one of the worst decisions he could make right now.
There's a good reason why Afghanistan is often referred to as "The Graveyard of Empires". Has any invading force ever conquered this land? Have we been successful over there despite the years and millions of dollars we've spent? Is the taliban spending that kind of money? No, but they are still just as strong as they were before we came. We need to figure out why that is before we send in even more troops and only see the same results as every other nation that invaded this land.
Watch the video in this post and then look at this explanation of Pashtunwali, the code of honor that dictates the behavior for all Pashtuns, from the cradle to the grave: