General Stanley McChrystal, the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, has said al-Qaeda will not be defeated unless its leader, Osama bin Laden, who he called an "iconic figure" is captured or killed.
How does Bin Laden's survival embolden al-Qaeda as a franchising organisation across the world?
Who takes responsibility for his survival for the past eight years?
Has the US managed to win the hearts and minds of the region's people?
Are US policies helping or hindering al-Qaeda's popularity?
Inside Story discusses with guests Syed Saleem Shahzad, an Asia Times correspondent, Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of al-Quds al Arabi, and Daveed Gartenstein Ross, from the Foundation for the Defence of Democracy.
This episode of Inside Story aired on Thursday, December 10, 2009.