Despite an easing of tensions with the United States, Pakistan is persistently undermining security in Afghanistan by permitting safe havens for insurgents, a Pentagon report said today.

In a twice-a-year war assessment mandated by Congress, the Defense Department said that the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan and their allies had succeeded in preventing Taliban advances while limiting civilian casualties.

But Taliban havens across the border in Pakistan, the limited capacity of the Afghan Government and “endemic corruption” pose the greatest risks as the United States prepares to pull out troops by the end of 2014, the Pentagon said.

The report noted the better US relations with Pakistan, which agreed in July to reopen Western forces’ supply routes into Afghanistan. Pakistan had refused access after a US border strike killed 24 of its troops in November 2011.

“However, Pakistan’s continued acceptance of sanctuaries for Afghan-focused insurgents and failure to interdict (explosive) materials and components continue to undermine the security of Afghanistan and pose an enduring threat to US, coalition and Afghan forces,” the report said.

The report, which covered developments from April through September, said that Pakistan “has contributed to US interests while simultaneously falling short in other areas”.

(This article was published on December 11, 2012)
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