A shortage of troops in Afghanistan has left the US dependent on local militias. But how can democracy be achieved with the warlords still in control? "The Americans have only rented peace," comments politician Mohammed Satay. Regions like Kandahar may be under the theoretical control of Kabul but the militias on the street all work for the local warlord. "For $100 they will work for you or shoot you," explains Satay. Afghanistan remains a nation without law or order. There are eight times as many troops in Iraq as Afghanistan. With so few troops of their own, the Americans remain dependent on the warlords to hunt down the Taliban. "We pay the piper but they call the tune," comments one US official. And most Afghans are as frightened of the warlords as they are the Taliban. They long for the arrival of more US troops to bring security. Until this happens, Afghanistan can only experiment with democracy.