Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy came out today after the Strasbourg-Khel summit to explain that "we (NATO) are there to defend values... we are not ready to negociate with our values." This comes a few days after President Obama indicated that the core mission of NATO in Afghanistan was to fight Al Qaeda, and make sure that the country could no go back to being a safe haven for international terrorism. Basically that ment that the Alliance was in Afghanistan to protect its own safety and make sure that there would never be another 9/11. The issue is that stabilizing Afghanistan and uprooting international terrorism does not necessarily mean creating a "Jeffersonian democracy" there.
It certainly doesn't automatically mean protecting women's rights. I acknowledge this is said bluntly (and that Obama has evoked the issue of the education of women) but my point is that you have to decide what your objective is and state it clearly. Are we in Afghanistan to defend values, which is perfectly acceptable but more ambitious and more difficult to achieve. Or are we there to defeat Al Qaeda which means military action combined with some kind of political settlement that would bring stability to the country and some kind of negociation with people that do not share at all our values.
Apparently, the question remains.