It's easy to see our Afghan effort drifting not just to a debacle but to a disaster. We worked hard to get the Soviets out, and then had zero idea of what to do next. But this initial effort did build strong ties between the Pakistani army and radical fighters which have come back to haunt us.
Afghanistan does indeed have an important place in US National Strategy, responding to the core challenge of the Twenty-first Century: leading efforts to build the better world that is essential not only for global prosperity, but for US prosperity.
Continuity means an enduring commitment from the international community. The Afghan population must have confidence that they will not be abandoned and subjected once again to turmoil, civil war and economic disintegration.