From NATO commanders' plaintive call for more troop backup to Canada's sudden decision to deploy a tank squadron, all the signs indicate that insurgents in Afghanistan are more militarily sophisticated than Western strategists anticipated.
And many are wondering exactly what they could have been thinking.
The top military brass who are determined "to fight this thing to the last soldier' despite the odds stacked against them "are like the gorillas in Planet Of The Apes," says Scott Taylor, editor of the Ottawa-based Esprit De Corps magazine.
Taylor is certainly not echoing the NDP's call for a full Canadian withdrawal, but he can't suppress his doubts.
The sight of Canadian troops "dressed like Robocop" in their heavy and uncomfortable ceramic body armour confronting lightly armed Taliban fighters on their home turf does not, he says, inspire confidence.
"I don't think we can win this mission not the way it's being conducted. I don't think anyone up there has a clear idea. I've talked to them at the top end and I have listened to their arguments. It's the same old rhetoric.'
He also doesn't think the NATO International Security Assistance Force as it takes charge across Afghanistan and tries to make its mark with Operation Medusa in the Panjwayi district in the south is a very stable fighting force.
That's largely because public opinion in countries supplying forces is on edge about this war, he says. "You've got a commander [British Lieutenant General David Richards, commander of international forces in southern Afghanistan] in a difficult situation; he's got to play politics internally."
Taylor says each contingent from the different participating national armies including Canadian, Dutch, British or Romanian face possible waning support at home. "If [Richards] lost 12 Romanians this week,' Taylor says, "[he] has to switch it over, and maybe have the Canadians take the full front. All of a sudden a [country] gets a few guys killed and their politicians are talking about pulling out."
The intensity of NATO's operations isn't likely to decrease either, says Paul Rogers, a peace studies professor at Bradford University in England who scrutinizes security reports for his weekly columns on the Open Democracy website.
Rogers predicts a protracted campaign by NATO that will continue into the winter. "Many analysts actually expected something of a Taliban comeback last year,' he says. "But that didn't really occur to any extent. It happened on a much bigger scale this year.
"There is an inference that this was quite deliberate on the part of the Taliban. They were actually conserving and developing their resources for large-scale operations this year. In other words, they are planning not just month to month, but year to year."
Separating fact from fancy is also the project of Jim Trautman, an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam and is now a journalist and military researcher living in Orton, Ontario.
Even something as simple as the numbers provided on the deaths of enemy combatants should be carefully scrutinized, says Trautman. "The military uses a rule of thumb that if they kill one of us, we must have killed 10 or 14 of them. The Taliban don't usually leave their bodies behind. They make sure they take them off the battlefield."
The U.S. and NATO strategy of building outposts in hostile territory in Afghanistan, he says, looks eerily similar to failed efforts in Vietnam. The outsiders, like fish out of water, will continue to remain vulnerable to seasoned fighters regardless of their firepower.
And the recently announced deployment of 15 aging Leopard tanks? These, he says, are normally geared for the European theatre.