One month after the start of the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan a number of certainties have emerged. Most immediately from the combat viewpoint is that there is no longer a question about whether ground troops will need to be deployed in large numbers; the question is simply when and in what capacity they will go in. And, while it is clear that the Taleban are tougher and better organised combatants than anticipated, there is no doubt that the US has the will to prevail militarily. More important, however, is the certainty that the conflict will, ultimately, only be won by the US and its allies if a viable regime can be created to replace the Taleban. The new administration needs to be born of many considerations, taking into account not only Afghanistan's many ethnic groups, but also the demands of neighbouring countries. At a more fundamental level any post-war government must be one that does not create the conditions that breed philosophies of hatred and fanatical intolerance, represented by Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taleban. This is why outline proposals to be considered by United Nations Security Council members at the weekend for an interim administration may prove to be crucial. Discussions are likely to centre on proposals by the UN's special envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, that there must be a UN-backed transitional government in the country. International support to ensure the security of Afghanistan is also a key component of the proposal. A powerful endorsement from the Security Council's 15 members for a clear plan to form such a transitional government would not only be a fillip to efforts to topple the Taleban, it would also create the hope that, out of the destruction of decades of conflict, the people of Afghanistan may at last be offered some real hope for the future.