We are winning – change in an area like this could be expected to take decades, if not hundreds of years… this is just how it is here, where much is the same as it was in biblical times. Yet despite this, many rapid changes are happening: success of joint security (and less Soldiers getting hurt or killed), reconciliation and the increasing ineffectiveness the insurgents are giving the government a chance to organize itself to provide essential services (water, sewer, electricity) to the people. A central democratic government is very difficult to run, even in the best of situations, but in this region the concept is similar to America deciding to change from a Capitalistic Democracy to fully state run Communism during the conditions of the depression. It takes time.
Never has the single most powerful nation on earth taken over the responsibility to bring independent democracy to other countries. In the past, (Romans, Ottoman Empire, British Empire, etc), as the balance of power has shifted to just one country- that country was intent to use that power to plant their flag around the world. In contrast- America has a history of going to war, winning, and then becoming that nation’s best friend. This dates back in our own history, when much like Iraq and Afghanistan; we were occupied by France to help gain our independence. And to put things in perspective- it took eight years from the start of the revolutionary war until the Treaty in Paris. We are directly part of a noble quest and I am so very proud to be part of this slice of history that will be significant for centuries to come.