The top British commander in Afghanistan says the country's own military is proving to be an "effective force" despite rising casualties.
Lt Gen John Lorimer claims Afghan troops have demonstrated "resilience" in the face of Taliban attacks and were taking on insurgents. "They've taken a few early blows, it's true" he said. "But that's only because they didn't really know what they were doing. The ones that aren't dead now have that crucial combat experience to draw on next time."
In the past week Taliban attacks have left scores of civilians dead, the number of policeman killed has soared and an American pop star did a raunchy dance in a flesh-coloured bikini.
"When you are fighting a ruthless enemy, inevitably you are going to take some casualties, but it is better that most of those casualties aren't our own lads. That tends to get a bit of a bad press. But nobody back home really bats an eyelid over these chaps so you can almost forget the war's still going on. Works out much better for everyone."
Lt Gen Lorimer is expecting a seamless transition as Nato troops withdraw, as the Afghan military will also be "well trained, poorly equipped and ideologically vague".
"They're are going on the front foot now, taking the fight to the insurgents so we have to expect some of them to be blown to pieces. The Taliban have been fighting us for years, so they know what they're doing by now. And they're really pissed off."
When asked what lessons from Afghanistan could be applied to Syria, he said "Get in there, bomb the crap out of them, get out. Give a load of guns to the other guys and let them get on with it. War is fine as long as nobody dies.
"Well, nobody we know anyway."