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US watchdog questions govt claim on Afghan war progress

WASHINGTON: A US government watchdog took issue with military assertions that momentum in the fight against the Taliban had shifted to Afghan government forces.
Citing a series of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan, including last week in the western province of Farah, bordering Iran, the inspector general report released by the Pentagon said there are few signs of significant progress by Afghan forces.
“The Taliban continued to hold territory and launched devastating terrorist attacks in Kabul and across the country,” Glenn Fine, the deputy Pentagon inspector general, wrote in an introductory note to the report, which covered the three months ended March 31.
Afghan security forces are improving, the report said, but they have made minimal progress toward securing the population. It also said the number of Afghan fighting forces has continued to decline, raising concerns about their effectiveness.
The Trump administration, in launching a new war strategy last August, said it was taking stronger measures to compel the Taliban to join peace talks. But Monday’s report to Congress said there was little publicly available evidence that the actions to increase pressure on the Taliban were having a significant impact.