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article imageUS DoD releases damning Afghan report

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 29, 2010 in World
A new report sent to Congress on Wednesday suggests an 87 percent increase in violence in Afghanistan from February 2009 to March 2010 is attributed to increased US coalition and Afghan national security force activities.
The congressionally mandated report is titled Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan. According to American Forces Press Service, the report states much of the recent progress in Afghanistan is related to the Obama administration’s strategy aimed at disrupting and defeating the al-Qaida movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, the report blames government corruption in Afghanistan as part of the reason for civilian distrust in the country. The 152-page report has been released in advance of President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington, states the BBC.
It notes President Karzai’s support from the country’s population in only 29 of its 121 districts considered to be of strategical importance in war efforts. “The establishment of effective governance is a critical enabler for improving development and security,” the report said.
According to the report, the downward trend in stability seems to be stemmed, as does Taliban momentum, thanks in part to “unprecedented pressure.”
"From the insurgents' perspective, this strain has been compounded by the recent high-profile arrests of several Pakistan-based insurgent leaders by the Pakistani authorities and the removal of many Afghanistan-based commanders," it said.
A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated: “We are on the cusp. We are no longer moving in the wrong direction.” He noted there are indications “we are moving in the right direction.”
U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Glenn Niemitalo  an engineer with the Paktika Provincial Recons...
U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Glenn Niemitalo, an engineer with the Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team, talks to a village elder with the assistance of an interpreter
US Department of Defense
Also noted in the report is President Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan which calls for increased military and civilian capacities. The State Department has tripled its on-ground civilian numbers since January 2009, now standing at 339. These civilians are vital to governmental support and development goals in Afghanistan, critical to sustaining improvements in the country’s security, according to the report.
As of March 31, there are approximately 87,000 US troops in Afghanistan. That number is expected to increase to 98,000 by August. There are also 46,500 international forces serving in the country, with an additional 9,000 troops pledged by 38 countries to help support war operations.
“It’s not all about security,” the defense official said to reporters. “It’s about what security enables.”
This report is required every 180 days through fiscal year 2010, and is prepared in coordination with the Attorney General, Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development. It covers the period from October 1 to March 31.
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