Despite major recent offensives by coalition forces against the insurgency in Afghanistan, the Taliban is gaining strength and expanding its reach and influence, according to a new Pentagon report.
The assessment says the Taliban's operations are increasingly sophisticated and able to withstand repeated military onslaughts, The Los Angeles Times
The report was ordered by Congress.
It finds that Afghan citizens are sympathetic to the insurgency in 92 of 121 districts identified by the United States as areas necessary for stabilizing the country. Only 29 of the districts show popular support for President Hamid Karzai's government.
Defense Department officials said they remained hopeful their counter-insurgency strategy, formed after a White House review last year, would ultimately be successful this year. They point to recent successes in Helmand province, where several senior Taliban leaders have been captured.
The next phase of U.S. strategy is expected to kick off in the coming weeks, the Times reported, as joint forces increase operations near the city of Kandahar, the spiritual capital of the Taliban movement.