I've just finished reading a report from the ICG about Afghanistan and it made for some pretty depressing reading - missed opportunities, warlords re-establishing control, impotent central government, etc. But the following quote is downright chilling... "Look, in Afghanistan, all your efforts are fruitless. Democracy is not implementable. The US and the Coalition forces will eventually be defeated in Afghanistan, and therefore we and the fundamentalist parties will remain in power for a long time. I advise you to cease your activities." What's chilling about it isn't so much what is said. You could probably find many a Talib who would say something like this. But the quote is attributed to a member of the National Security Directorate, ie, the secret police of the existing government. The person he's speaking to is a member of the Democratic Coalition, a grouping of pro-democracy political parties. That's the secret police of the existing government in Kabul. Hamid Karzai, the Northern Alliance, etc. Our anti-Taliban, anti-al Qaeda allies. If these guys think we will be defeated in Afghanistan, an idea that isn't even on the table anywhere I've been reading, then things look pretty bleak.