As an old comic book fan I grew up with an understanding of certain things. There are good guys. There are bad guys. Sometimes the good guys have to kick the bad guys asses. And most importantly when people ask "Who are you to do this?" or "Why you?" The answer is "I can distinguish right from wrong and I have the will to act." The will to act is the fundamental super power. (It's really the only one that Batman has.)
Sometimes you'll have allies. Sometimes you won't. The reasons for your company or solitude may vary, but having company or not doesn't ever absolve you of your responsibility to act.
This is really my way of saying there's nothing wrong with unilateral action.
Our reliance on NATO in Afganistan is counter productive. When I say this, I'm not talking about specific member nations, but rather NATO as a whole. Specific member nations are allies, the NATO as a whole is an institution.
As an institution NATO hangs around in Afganistan so that we can say "multi-lateral". This is because multi-lateral is supposed to be the end all be all of all things swell. It's become the goal in itself. Having NATO in Afganistan has turned out to be alot like conveening the JLA for iced mocha lattes while the Legion of Doom is out looting.
But the JLA could always depend on Batman to pick up the slack. If there was a problem that no one wanted to think about or seemed to awful to imagine, Batman would think about it. Batman would imagine it.
(In case you're not following I'm about to compare the United States to Batman).
The U.S. is (for the most part) like Batman in this little construct. We're rich, well trained, smart, our hearts are in the right places, and we're willing to think of the things that other folks aren't. Additionally we are (sometimes) gifted with a will to act that exceeds anything this world has ever known.
We're using NATO in Afganistan to let some of that will slide. NATO isn't picking up the slack.
It's nice for batman when the JLA pulls their weight. A few more shoulders to share the weight of the world is groovy sometimes. But it's not necessary. NATO doesn't want to do the work? Fine. Time for them to take a backseat then.
We can't really afford to continue to stand around with our hands on our hips begging the JLA to actually join the fight. Batman and the few allies who are willing to fight have to step up and put the bad guys down. The JLA can push the broom when we're done.