As Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections next month, US marines and British troops have launched major new offensives against the Taliban in the south of the country.

It has been just over 10 days since the US launched Operation Khanjar - the first big offensive under Barack Obama's new regional strategy to defeat the Taliban and its allies.

The first days of the mission have been particularly bloody - especially for the British, who have had 15 soldiers killed.

On one side, there are conventional armies equipped with state of the art technology. On the other, there are highly mobile and elusive guerrilla fighters.

They may have completely different styles of warfare but they share a common objective: to control the territory.

Inside Story asks: Is this the start of an extended operation in Afghanistan and who is likely to come out on top?

Our guests on this show are Prince Ali Seraj, a political analyst joining us from Kabul, and Michael Griffin, an Afghanistan expert and author joining us from London.

This episode of Inside Story aired on Monday, July 13, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera