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    Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers keep watch at the gate of an army headquarters a day after an attack in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan April 22, 2017

    Available Metrics Belie US Claim of Afghan Military Gaining Ground - Pentagon

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Recent reports of success in battles between Afghan forces and terrorist fighters, recently depicted by US military officers as signs of a shift in momentum, fail to reflect a lack of overall progress in turning the tide of battle, according to a report by the US Department of Defense Inspector General on Monday.

    "This quarter, US officials stated that the Taliban was not achieving its objectives and that momentum was shifting in favor of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF)," a press release summarizing the report stated. "However, available metrics showed few signs of progress, and during the quarter, the Taliban and the Islamic State [Daesh*] in Iraq and Syria — Khorasan, each launched high-profile attacks in Kabul that killed hundreds."

    The Inspector General report covers the period from January 1, 2018, to March 31, 2018, the release said.

    The release cited one publicly available metric to measure military success — the percentage of population and districts controlled by the Afghan government — as having changed little during the first quarter of 2018.

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    As of January 31, 2018, 65 percent of the population lived in areas under government control or influence compared to 64 percent last quarter, the release noted. The Taliban maintained control or influence of 12 percent of the population, the same as the previous quarter.

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    The Afghan government gained control or influence over two districts, increasing to 229 out of 407 districts, while the Taliban seized control of one additional district during the quarter, increasing to 59 districts, according to the release. An additional 119 districts remained contested.

    *Taliban, Daesh — terror groups banned in Russia

    Tags:
    Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), Taliban, Afghanistan, United States
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