The U.S. government’s annual review of the war in Afghanistan concluded that the military is on track to start withdrawing troops in July 2011, as originally promised by President Barack Obama. The report stroke a note of cautious optimism, talking about “significant progress” in “disrupting, dismantling and defeating” al-Qaeda, but warning that in many places in Afghanistan, “the gains we’ve made are fragile and reversible.” The assessment highlighted terrorist safe-havens in Pakistan as one of the major remaining challenges. The publicly available five-page version of the classified report, however, carried no mention of corruption within the Afghan government, which some of the WikiLeaks cables indicated as another significant stumbling block to progress in the country. Last December, Obama ordered a 30,000 troops increase in Afghanistan in order to stop and reverse the Taliban’s momentum in the country’s southern provinces.
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