Kabul, July 10 : Seven years after the eradication of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, one would have thought that the fight would have gone out of the Islamic fundamentalists, but if you ask those confronting this group in war-ravaged Afghanistan, he or she will just say: "You kill 20,000 Taliban, another 20,000 will follow".
That in effect, sums up the resurgence of rabid Islamism.
For ordinary Kabulites, life pretty much goes on normally. The international community has colonised the Afghan capital, but that does not take away the growing fear among locals that a terror strike is just seconds or hours away.
Monday's attack on the Indian Embassy in which 41 lost their lives is a stark reminder of "Coalition forces are winning every battle but losing the war."
The shattered Indian embassy is not far from the compound housing NATO's International Security Assistance Force, which has 52,700 troops - including more than 1000 Australians - on the ground.
Inside the ISAF headquarters, rhetorical terms such as mission accomplished are not mentioned.
The senior ISAF commander was quoted by the New York Times as saying that the conflict in Afghanistan cannot be won for two major reasons: the safe haven enjoyed by the militants and their al-Qa'ida sponsors in neighbouring Pakistan; and the rampant corruption in Afghanistan itself.
He claims that physical insurgency is containable, but not solvable.
He says the best they can hope for is to "reduce it to a stalemate favourable to our side".