Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Afghanistan is currently suffering its most violent year since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, according to an internal United Nations report that sharply contrasts with recent upbeat appraisals by President Bush and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai.
"The security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007," said the report compiled by the Kabul office of the U.N. Department of Safety and Security.
There were 525 security incidents — attacks by the Taliban and other violent groups, bombings, terrorism of other kinds, and abductions — on average every month during the first half of this year, up from an average of 425 incidents per month in 2006.
Last year was the most violent since the U.S. post-September 11 offensive that ousted the hard-line Taliban Islamic militia from power and drove Osama bin Laden and his al Qaida terrorists into neighboring Pakistan.
The U.N.'s Half-Year Review of the Security Situation in Afghanistan underscored the continuing resurgence of the Taliban, which many experts attribute to Bush's decision to shift troops and resources to Iraq, the U.S. failure to capture the militia's top leaders, and the refuge the militia has secured in the lawless tribal region of neighboring Pakistan.
There are currently about 40,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.