Progress ‘uneven’ in Afghanistan

US troops on patrol in Kandahar provinceThe Pentagon said Taliban forces are exploiting Afghan perceptions Nato troops will soon pull out

The Pentagon has said progress in the Afghan conflict has been “uneven” with only modest gains against the Taliban insurgency.

In a report to Congress, the US military said that Nato co-operation with Pakistan’s military had improved.

The Pentagon also reported “modest gains” in security, governance, and development in key areas.

But Taliban safe havens along the Pakistan border remained a problem, the twice-yearly briefing stated.

The Pentagon said violence in Afghanistan had reached an all-time high, with combat incidents up 300% since 2007. But the report cited evidence Nato counter-insurgency efforts had “localised” effects in areas of Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

The Pentagon also said Taliban fighters were exploiting moves among Nato countries to withdraw combat forces.

Canada is due to pull its combat forces out in 2011, and President Barack Obama has also said he will begin removing US troops in July 2011.

“The Taliban’s strength lies in the Afghan population’s perception that coalition forces will soon leave, giving credence to the belief that a Taliban victory is inevitable,” the report stated.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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