The declining security situation in Afghanistan has leveled off in many areas over the past three months, according to a Pentagon progress report to Congress. At the same time, overall violence in Afghanistan is sharply up, with an 87 percent ncrease over the seasonal average of the same period last year.
The report attributes increased violence to the stepped-up ISAF operations as more U.S. troops have arrived in Afghanistan. The 152 page April 2010 report, titled “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” covers the period from October 2009 through March 2010.
Insurgent attacks increased during 2009 and then peaked in August, just before the presidential elections. Most attacks are in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan.
“The insurgents perceive 2009 as their most successful year,” the report says. Higher levels of violence, poor turnout during the Afghan presidential elections and reports of Afghan government fraud contribute to a sense of success among the Taliban. While ISAF has seen some success in certain parts of Helmand, putting in place the Afghan government and security forces, the “hold and build” part of the COIN strategy, has been slow. The Taliban have re-infiltrated areas cleared by the Marines and are again intimidating the population.
I have a full write-up of the report over at DOD Buzz.
-- Greg Grant