American Special Forces and CIA agents, aided by locally hired mercenaries or police, have been searching both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border for over a year trying to find Osama bin Laden and his key aids. Many clues and leads have been found, but few al Qaeda kingpins. This efforts has brought the American operators a much better knowledge of the area and its people. But this has made it clear that the tribes along the border are more interested in the drug trade, smuggling and family feuds than they are in helping to bring down al Qaeda. Moreover, al Qaeda is seen as a heroic organization among many Pushtun tribesmen in the area and worth hiding from the foreigners.
The only effective military force, especially outside the capital Kabul (where there is a UN peacekeeping force and troops loyal to the central government), are the 8,000 US troops and under a thousand soldiers from other nations. The American troops are mostly commandos, elite infantry and civil affairs (along with support troops).