The Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has warned the mission to tackle the Taliban
could end in failure
- and identified a window of six to 12 months in which to act.
President Barack Obama is currently considering his request for about 40,000 extra US troops - but President Obama has always stressed he needs a
in government in order to honour more troop and resource commitments to Afghanistan.
Some analysts say the key to ensuring Afghanistan's long term security is training Afghanistan's security forces.
President Karzai and the US government have long recognised that Afghan security forces need to be better trained. It is one of the key planks of Gen McChrystal's new Afghan strategy - and it is a
Another strategy has been to reach out to the "moderate Taliban". In his first speech after victory, President Karzai called on "Taliban brothers" who have been fighting an insurgency against him to "embrace their land".
But as Taliban wages far outstrip what the average Afghan earns, it is unclear how the government can win them over.
Meanwhile, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the Afghan conflict. The
number of civilians killed in the conflict
in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2009 has risen 24% compared with the same period last year, the UN says.
Just one day after Hamid Karzai was declared president, he
vowed to remove
the "stigma" of corruption.
Hamid Karzai's administration has been accused of corruption
"Our government has been seriously discredited by administrative corruption," he said in his first speech to the nation.
After an election process marred by widespread vote-rigging, this is a promise that will be closely monitored by his allies in the West.
In 2006 the UN and World Bank said that key Afghan drug traffickers had sponsors in the top echelons of government
The link between drugs and corruption is something that has long exercised Afghanistan's Western sponsors. After being sworn in as Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton branded Afghanistan a "narco-state"
and said the government was "plagued by limited capacity and widespread corruption".
And even Nato's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has been quoted as saying: "The basic problem in Afghanistan is not too much Taliban; it's too little good governance."
Good governance is a question that President Karzai says he will put at the heart of his new administration.
Other aspects of Afghanistan's civil administration concern Western commentators and rights groups.
Its conservative judiciary is frequently criticised by rights groups over certain judgements.
Afghanistan's human rights commission has also in the past made calls for the reform of Afghanistan's judiciary which it has said is dominated by religious conservatives.
It said Afghan opium funds global terrorism, caters to 15 million addicts, and kills 100,000 people every year.
But, it added, corruption and lawlessness in Afghanistan meant hardly any drug hauls could be seized.
The challenge for President Karzai - working with coalition forces - will be to strengthen local law enforcement agencies and their ability to combat drug lords and poppy cultivation particularly in the south of the country.
This year, however, poppy cultivation and opium production in Afghanistan appears to have
. But correspondents say the fear is that suppliers are just depleting stockpiles to boost world heroin prices, which at the moment are low.
Eradication programmes and policies to encourage Afghan farmers to grow wheat instead of poppies have had mixed success.
In some areas, such as the far north of Afghanistan, farmers have switched to wheat cultivation.
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