An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to US military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of the war in Afghanistan. Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are NOT authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The Obama administration's plan to conduct a strategic review of the war in December has touched off maneuvering between US military leaders seeking support for extending the American troop buildup and skeptics looking for arguments to wind down our nation's role: Among the troubling findings is that Taliban commanders who are captured or killed are often replaced in a matter of days. Insurgent groups that have ceded territory in Kandahar and elsewhere seem content to melt away temporarily, leaving behind operatives to carry out assassinations or to intimidate villagers while waiting for an opportunity to return: US officials said Taliban operatives have adopted a refrain that reflects their focus on President Obama's intent to start withdrawing troops in the middle of next year. Attributing the words to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, officials said, operatives tell one another: "The end is near."