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Pentagon: Afghan Troops Must Improve To Avoid Stalemate With Insurgents

An Afghan army land mine detection team in the northern Faryab province on June 13.

A Pentagon report says Afghan security forces have demonstrated resilience in heavy fighting with the Taliban this year but suffered high casualties and must continue to improve to achieve more than in the current fighting season.

The 108-page Defense Department report to the U.S. Congress stressed the importance of Afghan security forces demonstrating their effectiveness against the Taliban in their first full year with overall responsibility for the country's security.

The twice-yearly document was the first issued since U.S. and coalition forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan and handed over responsibility for internal security to Afghan police and military forces.

Afghan forces "conducted several large-scale independent operations around the country simultaneously during this reporting period, but their performance was uneven," the report said.

Afghan forces carried out offensive operations to take the fight to the insurgency in Helmand, Ghazni, and Zabul provinces, but they also "struggled to react quickly" to Taliban offensives in Kunar and Kunduz provinces, it said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP