Various news sources are reporting claims that Mazar-i-Sharif (the northern city where most of the fighting between the Northern Alliance and Taliban has taken place) has fallen to the Northern Alliance. If the city comes under the control of the Northern Alliance, I would expect US forces to move in and set up a base of operations at the airport there. It looks like our insistence on bombing through Ramadan (which starts really soon) is making us unwelcome in Pakistan, and we can certainly operate with impunity if our forces are within Afghanistan. That’s a luxury that we don’t have when we’re operating out of Pakistan or the Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan. At this point, I’m in favor of getting this war over with as rapidly as possible so we can hopefully start helping Afghanistan rebuild, and kicking the Taliban out of Mazar-i-Sharif is a big step toward the end of the war. I think it will also make it easier to woo Pushtuns over to the side that favors a new government for Afghanistan.