"The weakness of state institutions, malign actions of power-brokers, widespread corruption and abuse of power by various officials, and Isaf's [International Security Assistance Force's] own errors, have given Afghans little reason to support their Government," McChrystal argued in a document leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. He said the consequence had been a "crisis of confidence among Afghans. Further, a perception that our resolve is uncertain makes Afghans reluctant to align with us against the insurgents".
That is extracted from a confidential briefing paper prepared for President Barack Obama by the senior US general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, in August 2009, eight years into the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan.
"We should honestly admit that our efforts have not led to the expected results. Huge material resources and considerable casualties did not produce a positive end result - stabilisation of military-political situation in the country. The protracted character of the military struggle and the absence of any serious success, which could lead to a breakthrough in the entire strategic situation, led to the formation in the minds of the majority of the population of the mistrust in the abilities of the regime."
"The experience of the past years clearly shows that the Afghan problem cannot be solved by military means only.
"We should decisively reject our illusions and undertake principally new steps, taking into account the lessons of the past, and the real situation in the country."
So the Americans are starting to have doubts?
Far from it, it seems. That second quote was from August 17, 1987. The writer Colonel K. Tsagalov is addressing the newly appointed Soviet Defence Minister, Dmitry Yazov.