FULLY BOOKED Media Talk: Assassination and Insurgency – Are the Taliban Winning?

Talk Wednesday 11th June, 2008

The British death toll in Afghanistan has now reached 100 as the cost of the war spirals ever higher. Suicide attacks are on the rise and President Karzai narrowly escaped a recent suicide attempt as the security situation continues to deteriorate. As the insurgency appears to be spreading from the south to the central and northern regions we ask if the Taliban are gaining the upper hand?

Alastair Leithead is the BBC’s Kabul Correspondent.

James Fergusson is a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent who has written for many publications. From 1997 he reported from Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, covering its fall to the Taliban. In 1998 he became the first western journalist in more than two years to interview the fugitive warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. He has just published A Million Bullets – The Real Story of the British Army in Afghanistan which analyses the slide into war in Helmand and asks: Could Britain perhaps have avoided the violence altogether?

James Appathurai is principal spokesperson for NATO.

John D McHugh is a photo journalist who spent many months last year embedded with US Forces in Afghanistan and was shot and wounded while there. He returned in April 2008 to continue covering the conflict through photos, films and blogs.

Mawlavi Abdulsalam Zaeef is the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. He will taking part, via phone link, from Kabul.

Nazanine Moshiri has been a presenter and the London Correspondent at Al Jazeera English since November 2006. She has travelled extensively for the network and has covered some of their biggest stories from Europe, Iran and Afghanistan. During a brief stint in Afghanistan, Nazanine travelled to Balkh province where she reported on cannabis replacing opium and also Herat where she focused on Iran’s increasing influence on the region.