New US report warns on Pakistan insurgency

A new White House report warned on Tuesday that Pakistan still had no clear path to triumph over insurgents, and said Afghanistan’s Taliban was turning more and more to soft civilian targets.

The semi-annual White House report to Congress is designed to judge progress or otherwise towards key objectives of the war in Afghanistan and operations against militants in Pakistan, now nearly a decade old.

The report noted a deterioration of the situation in inhospitable Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northwest Pakistan alongside the Afghan border between January and March this year.

“What remains vexing is the lack of any indication of ‘hold’ and ‘build’ planning or staging efforts to complement ongoing clearing operations,” the report said.

“As such there remains no clear path to defeating the insurgency in Pakistan, despite the unprecedented and sustained deployment of over 147,000 forces.”

The report also however noted the “tremendous human sacrifices” made by Pakistani forces in the region.

The report also showed slight progress in the last six months in involving the international community to help stabilize Pakistan, and overall, modest progress in the US surge strategy to subdue the Taliban.

But it said that absenteeism and attrition continued to pose a risk to the quality of the Afghan National Security Forces that are vital to Washington’s goal of eventually drawing down its troop presence in Afghanistan.