Pentagon's Afghan war review released, July withdrawal start still on track

The summary said the United States continues to kill leaders of Al Qaeda and diminish its capacity to launch terrorist attacks from the region. It cited some signs that the United States and its allies have halted or reversed inroads by the Taliban in Afghanistan and strengthened the ability of Afghan forces to secure their country, but acknowledged that the gains are fragile and could be easily undone unless more progress is made towards hunting down insurgents operating from havens in neighboring Pakistan.

The report is the first full-scale assessment of Mr. Obama’s strategy, and was once portrayed by the administration as critical to decisions about the course of the conflict and the pace of the exit by the United States from Afghanistan. But the White House has been playing down the report’s importance for months, even as it continues to balance pressure from the military for time to allow the troop surge to work and pressure from many Democrats — some inside the administration — to start showing next year that Mr. Obama is serious about winding down the nine-year conflict.

The summary shed little light on the scale of any troop withdrawal next year, which the administration says will be determined by conditions on the ground…

While the overview appeared to take pains not to specifically criticize the Pakistani government, administration officials have expressed frustration over Pakistan’s willingness to hunt down insurgents operating from havens on its Afghan border.

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