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.
It is Time to Build, time to move beyond the military effort with a greatly expanded effort to provide maximum support to the grassroots level, with a focus in the quieter areas of the country where the population is supportive of foreign assistance.
In a recent New York Times article, David Miliband showed that his intellect and judgment on a number of key issues, including how to bring the Afghan War to an end, was and remains almost finely honed; but it lacks an indigenous solution.
Washington's spin machine is in overdrive to counter the leak of documents on Afghanistan, revolving around the theme that the documents aren't particularly relevant to this year's new-and-improved war effort.
In the AfPak theater it is impossible to say what is Washington's objective. Short of a massive force expansion, the ignominious end seems likely to come soon, for political rather than military reasons.