For five weeks in July and August CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reported from Afghanistan, meeting with soldiers, military officers, Afghan officials and civilians (see his reports below).
In our conversation (watch the video at left) he describes the complex and difficult situation U.S. and coalition troops face in building up the Afghan police and army forces, and the plight of civilians who have lived with war for the past three decades.
Doane spent time in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan with U.S. and Afghan troops, traveling through Taliban territory with the Army's 10th Mountain "Task Force Spartan," and riding along with a U.S. Army medevac unit dealing with a mass-casualty event.
The conduct of the war in Afghanistan has not been improving in the last few months. The United Nations says that number of civilians killed in Afghanistan rose 158 percent in the first half of this year compared to the previous year.
On Friday two suicide bombers and an ensuing gun battle at the British Council in Kabul killed at least ten people, and a roadside bomb killed 21 passengers travelling on a minibus in Herat in Western Afghanistan on Thursday.
Earlier in the month six suicide bombers killed 22 people in an attack at a governor's security meeting in Parwan, a province 30 miles north of Kabul. Doane was speaking with the governor on the phone at the time of the attack.
And on August 5, a Chinook helicopter carrying 30 U.S. soldiers, including 22 Seal Team 6 members, was shot down by Taliban insurgents.
At least 1,626 U.S. military members have died in Afghanistan since the war in Afghanistan began in late 2001, and more than 13,000 have been wounded, according to the AP and the Department of Defense.
Capturing the challenges of the war in Afghanistan, Doane observed that the opium yielding poppies and marijuana plants that fund the Taliban insurgents battle against U.S forces grow around the coalition force bases instead of flowers.
Building the Afghan National Army
Medevac team saves lives in Afghanistan
Traveling through Taliban territory in Afghanistan with the Army's 10th Mountain "Task Force Spartan"