Pakistan, corruption impede progress in Afghanistan: US
Safe havens in Pakistan, corruption and limited Afghan government capabilities are the greatest obstacles to stability in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon report delivered to Congress.
The coalition surge accomplished its mission, says the "Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan" noting the number of attacks is down and, while the Taliban and its Al Qaeda allies can launch a few flashy attacks, the terror group's capabilities have waned.
Pakistan remains a problem, but there is some progress on that front, according to the report as "The insurgency and Al Qaeda continue to face US counterterrorism pressure within the safe havens."
"US relations with Pakistan have begun to improve following the re-opening of Pakistani ground lines of communication, and there has been nascent improvement with respect to cross-border cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan."
The report to Congress highlights the improvement in security of populated areas and says the Taliban's ability to attack Afghans is diminished particularly in Kandahar, the group's operational and ideological base.
But overall, the report paints a picture of mixed progress toward security and stability, with the area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border remaining a hot zone, it said.
"Pakistani-based sanctuary for insurgents, such as the Haqqani Taliban Network in North Waziristan, as well as the financial and operational support that insurgents receive from various sources, keeps the security situation along the border with Pakistan in Regional Command - East volatile," the report said.
Meanwhile, a senior defence official told reporters that "India has been very supportive of Afghanistan in a wide range of areas. And we think that's been very positive."
The US and the Afghans have developed jointly a fairly aggressive plan about international assistance in the security area, he said.
The US, he said has "had discussions with the Indians about this issue and about the Afghans, and I don't see any particular problems with the overall approach here at all."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)