The Pentagon releases report on Afghanistan ahead of Karazai visit to US

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A Pentagon report presented a sobering new assessment Wednesday of the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, saying that its abilities are expanding and its operations are increasing in sophistication, despite recent major offensives by U.S. forces in the militants’ heartland.

The report, requested by Congress, portrays an insurgency with deep roots and broad reach, able to withstand repeated U.S. onslaughts and to reestablish its influence, while discrediting and undermining the country’s Western-backed government.

But the Pentagon said it remained optimistic that its counter-insurgency strategy, formed after an Obama administration review last year, and its effort to peel foot soldiers away from the Taliban will show success in months to come.

The assessment follows a U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan’s Helmand province and the capture of several senior Taliban leaders, developments portrayed by the Pentagon as a boost to the momentum behind allied troops in the nearly 9-year-old war. Those successes backed the view that President Obama’s decision to deploy 30,000 additional U.S. forces had begun to show positive results.

Full story: Afghan Taliban getting stronger –

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