The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has warned that very hard fighting lies ahead in Afghanistan, but President Obama has not ruled out some "tactical" negotiations to undermine the insurgency.
An international conference in January backed negotiation and the use of money if necessary to find a political solution, but is the Taliban prepared to talk?
Michael Semple is a former EU diplomat in Afghanistan. Nik Gowing asked him whether striking a political deal is possible.
The Hub with Nik Gowing is broadcast Monday to Fridays at 1600, 1630 and 1700 GMT on BBC World News. Find out more information about regional broadcast times