The senior defense official, who was not authorized to talk publicly about the report so requested anonymity, said that while violence levels have remained relatively constant, the attacks have been pushed out of heavily populated areas.
Asked about the progress of the Afghan force, the official said that while many are not able to operate completely independently — without coalition support, they can often conduct operations on their own. According to the data, only one Afghan brigade and 20 battalion-sized units are rated as able to operate independently.
The distinction, the official said, is that most of the Afghan forces would need U.S. logistical, air force or intelligence gathering support if they were to come under a major attack. But, many Afghan units can go out, patrol and even battle a group of insurgents on their own.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.