Winning, in a counterinsurgency based operation can be defined and explained as winning the hearts and minds of the local populace, estranging the insurgents by gaining complete support from the locals, obstructing the insurgent supply lines, and ultimately aiding in reconstruction to thwart completely any reversal of the insurgents. Is this what is happening in Afghanistan? The COIN operation outcomes may be complex and intricate, but victory is always measurable through various yardsticks and cannot be concocted through clever manipulation of facts such as a comment made by the US Gen Patraeus when asked whether the allies were winning the war by cleverly replying, winning in a counter-insurgency campaign means making progress, and in that regard, we are winning. How does one define progress and to what extent? The US officials need to be less ambiguous in the choice of lexicons in the future, or maybe provide a glossary of explanations for the terms they use to create desired meanings. PROFESSOR KABIL KHAN, Peshawar, December 22.