There is a real possibility Obama will not get sucked into another Vietnam War in Afghanistan. The NY Times article suggests to me Obama is leaking his options to prepare the public for a change. He maybe refocusing his objective in Afghanistan targeting only Al Qaeda even if that meant Taliban might retake the government.
Yes, if Taliban resumed power, they would take the country back to medieval ages and the women would suffer a lot. But the
Talibans were never a threat to the national security of any nation, not even the Pakistani's who are their neighbors.
My two simple rules of foreign military adventures to help other nations to "nation build":
1) If the nation you want to build is not totally behind you, especially the people, don't do it.
2) If your own national balance sheets are weak, meaning you cannot really afford it, don't do it.
Afghanistani's are not totally behind the West to save it from the Talibans. Some are, but most remain cynical since Kabul is so corrupt. And then the US is already head over heels in debt. Washington should first strength its own nation building before taking on the task of modernizing the "graveyard of empires", Afghanistan.