There are two wars going on in Afghanistan. One is to defeat the Taliban, and that war is not going well. The other is to liberate women, and that war has hardly begun. If the first war is won but the second is lost, Afghanistan will turn into a failed state -- a caldron of violence and misery, home to extremism and totally outside the Western orbit of influence.
One result of rapid population growth is that two-thirds of the Afghan population is below the age of 25. The primary role models for the volatile, testosterone-filled young men in this group are local warlords. The reason Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (who, incidentally, is the 17th child of a man who had 54 children) have found a haven in Afghanistan is largely because of the mixture of loyalty and anger generated among males in such a society, in which there are no genuine economic opportunities for advancement. The word "taliban" means "student."
(I didn't know that about 'taliban'.)
A stable, modern and functioning Afghanistan is the West's goal. But it is not worth risking the death of one more American or British soldier fighting there unless there is a bold, achievable plan to educate women, enhance their autonomy and meet their need for family planning.
Or Canadian soldier.
As they say, go read the whole thing.