The zealots who sheltered Osama bin Laden are stepping into a power vacuum left when the US shifted its focus to Saddam Hussein. Today, amid warnings that there are not enough boots on the ground to stop the insurgence and in its biggest challenge in history, NATO took command of military operations in Afghanistan, with 31,000 troops from 37 countries, 12,000 from the US. An additional 8,000 American soldiers will handle counter-terrorism and training under US command. In the meantime, gun battles, roadside explosives and suicide bombers are taking their toll as the Taliban stage a powerful comeback. We hear about drug money, the failure of reconstruction and Pakistan. Will the Taliban fight their way into the government? What's happened to the Bush Administration's prime example of a "failed state" transformed into a democracy?
Paul Watson, South Asia Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times
Charles Heyman, Senior Defense Analyst for the online defense journal ArmedForces.co.uk
Marvin Weinbaum, Senior Scholar, Middle East Institute
Christine Fair, Georgetown University (@CChristineFair)