The past eight months have seen important but hard-fought progress in Afghanistan. ~ Gen David Petraeus, Mar. 2011That was then. Today the Taliban captured an unfinished building in the capital and used it as a platform to bombard the US embassy and the homes of prominent Afghans. There have been repeated Taliban attacks on NATO bases. They haven't over run a base (yet) but they have racked up some impressive casualties with a combination of hit-and-run and suicide bomber attacks.
The official Pentagon calculation for the cost of the Afghan war in 2011 is about $6 billion a month. That is the official number; the actual cost is probably three times that. The Pentagon optimists figure on needing only another 13 years to finish the job.