May 20, 2012 8:41 AM by Kate Richards
CHICAGO (AP) - When leaders at the NATO summit eventually turn their discussion to Afghanistan and the alliance pullout in a little less than two years, they are likely to be confronted by a bleak reality.
The insurgents remain active, corruption runs rife and the peace process is stuck in the sand after 11 years of a war President Barack Obama has said was thrust upon America by the 9/11 attacks.
Leaders of about 60 countries and organizations meet in Chicago today and tomorrow to map their way out of the unpopular war.
The only viable option is to leave behind an Afghan army and police force capable of defending the country.
That would require some $4.1 billion a year from economically stressed foreign coffers but without big handouts, Afghanistan simply cannot pay for its own defense.
The challenge facing world leaders will be to convince their own people.