UN map reveals 'no noted improvements' in Afghan security

Rick Moran
Now Obama and Gates know what Bush and Rumsfeld were up against when fighting a war; the reality sometimes doesn't jibe with optimistic assessments coming from Washington:

Internal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year's fighting season, countering the Obama administration's optimistic assessments of military progress since the surge of additional American forces began a year ago.The Wall Street Journal was able to view two confidential "residual risk accessibility" maps, one compiled by the U.N. at the annual fighting season's start in March 2010 and another at its tail end in October. The maps, used by U.N. personnel to gauge the dangers of travel and running programs, divide the country's districts into four categories: very high risk, high risk, medium risk and low risk.

In the October map, just as in March's, virtually all of southern Afghanistan-the focus of the coalition's military offensives-remained painted the red of "very high risk," with no noted security improvements. At the same time, the green belt of "low risk" districts in northern, central and western Afghanistan shriveled considerably.The U.N.'s October map upgraded to "high risk" 16 previously more secure districts in Badghis, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Laghman and Takhar provinces; only two previously "high risk" districts, one in Kunduz and one in Herat province, received a safer rating.

A Pentagon report mandated by Congress drew similar conclusions when it was released last month. It said attacks were up 70% since 2009 and threefold since 2007. As a result of the continued violence, the Taliban still threaten the Afghan government, according to the report. The White House's National Security Council declined to comment.

We are getting little help from the Karzai government and even less from tribes. The government is just incompetent and corrupt while the tribesmen are taking a wait and see attitude in order to end up on the winning side. At the moment, it doesn't appear to be us.



Now Obama and Gates know what Bush and Rumsfeld were up against when fighting a war; the reality sometimes doesn't jibe with optimistic assessments coming from Washington:

Internal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year's fighting season, countering the Obama administration's optimistic assessments of military progress since the surge of additional American forces began a year ago.

The Wall Street Journal was able to view two confidential "residual risk accessibility" maps, one compiled by the U.N. at the annual fighting season's start in March 2010 and another at its tail end in October. The maps, used by U.N. personnel to gauge the dangers of travel and running programs, divide the country's districts into four categories: very high risk, high risk, medium risk and low risk.

In the October map, just as in March's, virtually all of southern Afghanistan-the focus of the coalition's military offensives-remained painted the red of "very high risk," with no noted security improvements. At the same time, the green belt of "low risk" districts in northern, central and western Afghanistan shriveled considerably.

The U.N.'s October map upgraded to "high risk" 16 previously more secure districts in Badghis, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Laghman and Takhar provinces; only two previously "high risk" districts, one in Kunduz and one in Herat province, received a safer rating.

A Pentagon report mandated by Congress drew similar conclusions when it was released last month. It said attacks were up 70% since 2009 and threefold since 2007. As a result of the continued violence, the Taliban still threaten the Afghan government, according to the report. The White House's National Security Council declined to comment.

We are getting little help from the Karzai government and even less from tribes. The government is just incompetent and corrupt while the tribesmen are taking a wait and see attitude in order to end up on the winning side. At the moment, it doesn't appear to be us.