MEQ – In Afghanistan a $100 billion per year war rages in a country whose GDP barely reaches $13 billion. The Taliban insurgency appears to be on the rise, with Shari’a law being redeclared in strongholds to the north and a 31% rise in civilian casualties. Does a US withdrawal from the failed state necessarily predicate a return of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda? Does US presence assuage or exacerbate Afghani ethnic tensions? How does the US respond to Pakistani posturing, especially the ISI’s funding of militant ethnic groups?