"As the conventional forces leave, special operations forces will continue to be required because their (Afghan military) special operations capabilities are going to take a little bit more time to nurture and mature," according to Toolan.
Overall, Jacobson gives a good rating for the surge in terms of meeting its goals, not necessarily on the battlefield, but on the political gridiron.
"There are going to be a lot of questions historians will argue over for the next 50 years about this war, including whether the surge accomplished what it set out to do. It did," Jacobson said.
"It was also politically successful because it helped drive the international political commitment that was necessary to get the allies to support a transition," Jacobson said, referring to the 2010 NATO agreement in Lisbon, Portugal, where allies agreed on a way forward for Afghanistan to stand on its own.
He explained how the Lisbon agreement paved the way to the strategic partnership agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan, which put Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a position to understand the U.S. would be in Afghanistan for the long term.
With Karzai at ease that the U.S. and its allies would not be walking away from Afghanistan, he was willing to work with the U.S. and dropping his hostile attitude toward the alliance.
"You can't under estimate political resolve and the importance of helping Afghanistan get things done," according to Jacobson.
But while the verdict may still be out on how well the surge worked, Obama still believes sending in more than 30,000 troops was the right thing to do, while publically pointing out it did achieve at least some of the overall goals.
But as he told participants in the online chat last month, the decision to send those additional troops still weighs on him.
"Knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget," he said.