June 1st, 2010
10:30 AM ET

Behind the scenes in Kandahar

CNN's Paula Hancocks, on the ground in Afghanistan, describes the sense of eeriness on the streets of Kandahar. "You know there's danger on the street," she says, "You have a sense that there is something out there ... but you don't know where this danger is exactly."

She also talks about the differences between Kabul and Kandahar, the sense of fear on the streets in Kandahar and what it's like for women now in the southern province.

More from CNN International's BackStory

June 1st, 2010
09:59 AM ET

Is there a Plan B for Afghanistan?

Within weeks, 20,000 U.S., Afghan and coalition forces will have poured into the Kandahar region of southern Afghanistan - a longtime Taliban stronghold. The mission: establish security for the people, improve local government and push the Taliban out.

It's the biggest battle yet in the counterinsurgency warplan of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. U.S. forces have already struck Taliban targets in the area, but McChrystal is now trying to make it look like a more gentle war.

"We're not using the term operation or major operations, because that often brings to mind in people's psyche the idea of a D-Day and an H-hour and an attack," he said at a Pentagon briefing in May.

But what happens if this Plan A doesn't work? Some people say Plan B is to make Plan A work. FULL POST