The reality here is that no one in their right mind in the US State Department, White House, or Pentagon can possibly offer the American people any honest metric by which "progress" can be defined as a military win in this decade-long war.
The only people "winning" this war are the drug lords, the executives of those banks laundering that drug money, and the huge defense contractors supplying mercenaries, materials, and logistics: that, sir, is the cold, hard truth at this moment.
As you well know, the reason the Bush administration went into Afghanistan in the first place, was that the Taliban wanted fees for pipeline routes the Bush administration thought were "too high"; and apparently, in their collective derangement, the Bush administration thought that a war and occupation was going to be "cheaper" than paying the price the Taliban wanted.
Were you an intellectually,or even a morally honest human being, you would be publicly telling the family and friends of those who have died, or been maimed for life in this immoral and illegal war, that those they loved were killed or maimed in order to enhance the private profit of those companies which wanted to install these pipelines, if only the Afghan people could be "pacified" long enough to enable the building of those pipelines
This is the God's truth, and you know it; but you know that if you tell the American people the truth, they will not, in the future, stand for the callous and cavalier use of our brave men and women in uniform ultimately in the name of private profit, and rightly so.
So, what do you do?!? You lie, equivocate, and invoke "national security." We are, sir, absolutely no more safe than we were the day before we invaded and occupied Afghanistan. And every innocent civilian killed; every baby killed in its crib; every act of collective punishment against Afghan civilians becomes a recruiting call for everyone wishing to do our troops harm there.
You have installed a puppet dictator who can barely walk around in Kabul, let alone in the rest of the country, where the Taliban are absolutely resurgent. Corruption and poverty are endemic; and under the US/NATO occupation, the production of heroin has soared. And there is absolutely no US/NATO military victory possible.
So, the logical thing to do here?!? It is leave, and leave now, despite your insistence that the US and international community must "...muster the “strategic patience” that will be necessary for sticking with a country that may seem to be progressing slowly – but which to abandon would be to open the way to potential recurrences of the 9/11 tragedy." At that point,the US government should be negotiating with whatever government is standing in Kabul, and pay what they ask in terms of the pipeline routes. Of course, this...would be logical.
And finally, I would strongly caution you that threatening US citizens with another 9/11 will not work, sir.
And if there is another horrendous incident like it domestically, it will simply demonstrate that every alleged security measures the US government has put into place, and every indignity with which Americans who travel have to put up with, have been a complete and utter waste of time and money.