Is Afghanistan a hopeless quagmire of endless death and destruction? Maybe. But if you're wondering just how bad things could get when NATO pulls out and the country is left with no more security or effective government, well, let's take a look at Mexico and the drug war.
Mexico isn't half a world away. It shares a border with the United States -- but as of yet, no American or NATO troops have taken over security in any area of the country. I'm not suggesting that such an intervention would necessarily be a good idea, but then again, its current crisis, spiralling violence and geographic proximity would at least seem to merit some consideration. Some numbers for you, courtesy of the BBC:
47,515 people killed in Mexico in the last five years.
12,903 people killed in drug-related violence during the first nine months of 2011.
In 2009-2010, murders jumped 70 percent; 2008-2009 saw a 63 percent rise and there was a 110 percent jump in 2007-2008.
That's bad. In Afghanistan, admittedly a much less populous country, the numbers are still staggering, though not as bad as in America's immediate neighbor.