Critical Time for U.S. and Afghanistan

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric is in Kabul, Afghanistan as we continue our special series, "Afghanistan: the Road Ahead."

It's a critical time for both Afghanistan and the United States.

Because of the surge ordered by President Obama, there are now nearly 100,000 U.S troops in Afghanistan - even as public opinion at home shows growing skepticism about the war.

July was the deadliest month for American troops. With more than 1,200 U.S. deaths over the past nine years, Americans are asking - what are we doing in Afghanistan?

We'll be talking to, and traveling with the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus.

When we first met him three years ago, he was the top commander in Iraq - where he turned the tide in what had appeared to be a losing battle against a growing insurgency.

Now, President Obama is counting on him to do the same thing - while sticking to a plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces in less than a year.

We'll join him as he hears from Afghan civilians -- how do they feel about the U.S presence? What are the challenges facing the American men and women fighting this war?

Afghanistan: The Road Ahead

Terry McCarthy goes along with U.S Marines -- doing what has to be the most dangerous job in the world -- dismantling improvised explosive devices - IED's.

Another challenge for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is government corruption. Mandy Clark will have an exclusive interview with President Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. They call him the "King Of Kandahar," one of the major poppy growing provinces in a country that produces 90 percent of the heroin in the world.

We'll also look at the cornerstone of the U.S. exit strategy - training Afghan forces to take over responsibility for their own security.

We'll see Afghan women going to school - something they were not allowed to do under the Taliban. Even the basic right to an education is now under attack from a resurgent Taliban, who have maimed young girls on their way to school. But is the U.S. presence protecting girls and women or making them more of a target?

We'll look at the factors making this a nation on the verge - but on the verge of what?