Militant safe heavens in Pakistan greatest obstacles in Afghanistan’s stability

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 10:37:14 by

A Pentagon report has said Pakistan was persistently undermining security in Afghanistan with the existence of militant sanctuaries in the border area.


The Pentagon report delivered to Congress said that the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan and their allies had succeeded in preventing militant advancement while limiting civilian death ratio.


However, it said that the Taliban safe havens across the border, the limited capacity of the Afghan government and endemic corruption pose the greatest risks as the US prepares to withdraw its troops by the end of 2014.


The Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan claims the coalition surge accomplished its mission. The enemy has lost capability, the report says. The number of attacks is down and, while the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies can launch a few flashy attacks, the terror group’s capabilities have waned, it added.


Pakistan remains a problem, but there is some progress on that front, according to the report. “The insurgency and al-Qaida continue to face U.S. counterterrorism pressure within the safe havens,” the report says. “U.S. 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.”


In fact, the report continues, there has been some cooperation on both sides of the border in coordinating counter terror offensives.


Most security metrics have improved, the report says. It compares the first year of the surge – 2010 – with April through September of this year, noting that enemy-initiated attacks have declined by 12 percent. Detonations of improvised explosive devices declined 9 percent. The percentage of civilian casualties caused by NATO forces declined 28 percent. Direct- fire attacks have dropped by 9 percent, and indirect-fire attacks are down by 24 percent.


However, civilian casualties caused by enemy attacks are up 11 percent, according to the Pentagon report. The report’s findings point to progress with the Afghan national security forces, which will take over security operations when U.S. and coalition forces leave at the end of 2014.


“The ANSF has grown by 88,464 personnel, and has dramatically increased its capabilities,” the report states. “The areas of the country influenced by the insurgents and the ability of the insurgency to attack the population have been significantly diminished.”

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