The Taliban is threatening Afghanistan’s first ever peaceful democratic transfer of power as Afghans are due to vote for a new president on April 5.
The polls are the third since the fall of the Taliban, and will usher in the first new president in 10 years. Incumbent Hamid Karzai is barred from running for a third time under the terms of the constitution.
His successor will have the added responsibility of relying on Afghanistan’s own police and army to keep the Taliban at bay.
Reporting from Kabul, Al Jazeera correspondent Bernard Smith said: "The Taliban says whoever becomes the next president of Afghanistan will allow foreign forces to remain in the country. Therefore anybody involved in this presidential election, whether they be election observers, election officials, even people going to vote, everyone is a legitimate target."
So how can Afghanistan prevent the Taliban from derailing the democratic process? And where does this leave the Taliban in a future Afghanistan?
Presenter: Mike Hanna
Guests: Omar Samad - senior central Asia fellow at the New America Foundation, and a former spokesman for the Afghan foreign ministry
Helena Malikyar - an Afghan historian who has worked on a number of governance projects with international organisations in Afghanistan
Tony Shaffer - a retired US army lieutenant colonel and intelligence officer, and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research