FRI has re-appeared and has a strange story to relate, although I expect those closer to the ground have heard such claims before.

It starts with:
...success is not based upon the amount of villains killed or territory held, but by what the public perceives to be the truth. And if we measure our success the way we should, by measuring public perception, then I think we’ve lost Afghanistan.

My reasons for the conclusion above are plentiful, but I think this example is a good illustration of what I’m seeing here on the ground that leads me to think the way I do. A few days ago, there was an incident in Panjshir Province between an NDS officer and a US military convoy. The facts are still unclear, but it seems that the NDS Officer and US Soldiers got into an argument that escalated into a shoot-out, resulting in the deaths of one US Soldier, one US Civilian and the NDS officer.

Discussing the incident with my Afghan staff yesterday, I asked them, “how does this happen?” One of my staff, an ethnic Tajik from Kabul, had a theory. He told me that it’s pretty common knowledge among the Afghan people that the NDS thinks ISAF in general and the US military in particular are facilitating the movement of insurgent forces and/or weapons into formerly peaceful areas (such as Panjshir) in order to sabotage security gains and, therefore, prolong the war. According to him, the rumor going around is that the fight started because the NDS officer accused the Americans of smuggling weapons to the insurgents and/or demanded to search the American vehicles for these weapons.

So, I asked my other staff members, a Hazara from Eastern Afghanistan and a Pashtun from the South what they thought. The Hazara agreed that many people, not just the NDS, share this perception of ISAF. He said that his own family members are suspicious of ISAF’s intentions and have even speculated that the US has no plan to ever leave Afghanistan. The Pashtun nodded in agreement. They also told me that similar rumors had spread in both Balkh and Konduz Provinces, where local Afghan officials have apparently made public statements accusing ISAF of using helicopters to ferry weapons and equipment to the insurgents.

There's another quote, searching for that, standby.