US Marines Afghanistan.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is citing some progress in the 9-year-old Afghanistan war in its latest biannual report to Congress, even as violence is on the rise and more Afghans say they fear for their safety.
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The Pentagon-led assessment, released Tuesday, described progress as fragile but holding. Officials said the findings represent a slight improvement from previous months.
The report is an early look into the kind of cautious assessment
expected to reach US President Barack Obama's desk next month. The
December review is supposed to determine whether Obama's war strategy,
which includes a buildup of some 30,000 troops, is succeeding in
breaking the momentum of the Taliban insurgency.
"The deliberate application of our strategy is beginning to have
cumulative effects, and security is slowly beginning to expand," states
the report, which looks at operations from April through September 30.
Still, the report adds, the number of Afghans rating their security
situation as "bad" is the highest its been since 2008, with "kinetic
events" increasing by more than half during the summer.
The report attributes the uptick in violence to increased fighting between U.S.-led forces and the Taliban.
A senior defense official said the Pentagon views the war as an
"extraordinarily dynamic situation." The official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly,
said officials believe that much has already changed since the report's
September 30 end date, including military progress in the key city of
A Pentagon official was cited by The Washington Post
as saying, "we are seeing the shift of momentum that we aimed for"
against Taliban forces. "It's not complete, and there are still
challenges." But "the concept is being proven in key areas."
Particularly regarding Afghan governmental institutions, the report
said, "progress remains uneven and incremental," describing efforts to
fight corruption and especially in integrating uncertain ethnic groups
into the security forces.