Between 1 April and 30 September this year Taliban attacks against Coalition and Afghan forces were up only one percent compared to the same period last year. Such attacks increasingly take place outside populated areas and the security of many of Afghanistan's largest cities is has improved substantially, according to the latest Report on Progress Towards Security and Stability in Afghanistan, written by the US Department of Defense, for members of Congress.
However, the report notes the increase in 'insider attacks' and states that "The insurgency’s safe havens in Pakistan, the limited institutional capacity of the Afghan government, and endemic corruption remain the greatest risks to long-term stability and sustainable security in Afghanistan."
The report notes that between 1st March and 30th September the US decreased its military forces in Afghanistan by 25 percent, while other Coalition forces increased by one percent. There are now around 68,000 US forces in Afghanistan.
Overall, says the report, the surge accomplished what it set out to do: "The comparison in violence between 2012 to date and 2010 (the first year with surge-level forces present for the same nine month period) is stark: EIAs have declined by 12 percent, IED explosions have declined by nine percent, ISAF-caused civilian casualties have declined by 28 percent (insurgent-caused civilian casualties increased by 11 percent), Direct Fire (DF) attacks have declined by nine percent, and indirect fire attacks are down by 24 percent. The ANSF has grown by 88,464 personnel, and has dramatically increased its capabilities. The areas of the country influenced by the insurgents and the ability of the insurgency to attack the population have been significantly diminished."
Lots more facts and figures in this 172-page report, which only barely hides the fact that Coalition forces are no nearer defeating the Taliban than they were two years ago.