UN: Security worsens in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has become far more dangerous for US-led soldiers, with an increase in roadside bombings and suicide attacks, the United Nations has said.
A new report submitted to the UN Security Council on Saturday says violent attacks involving improvised explosive devices have increased 94 percent in Afghanistan over last year's levels during the first four months of 2010, Press TV reported.
The three-month report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shows the number of suicide attacks involving complex planning has doubled from last year to nearly two per month which shows "a growing capability of the local terrorist networks linked to al-Qaeda."
In the report, Ban said the overall security situation in Afghanistan had not improved since his last report in March and instead the number of violent incidents had "increased significantly compared to previous years and contrary to seasonal trends."
"The majority of incidents continue to involve armed clashes and improvised explosive devices, each accounting for one third of the reported incidents," Ban said.
The gloomy assessment contradicts NATO assertions, which claim that slow but steady progress is being made in Afghanistan.
"I think we are making headway," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday. "I think we are regaining the initiative."
Meanwhile, according to the report, targeted killings of Afghan officials and locally influential figures have increased by 45 percent compared to the same period in 2009. The killings tend to target tribal elders and other Afghan dignitaries, who might be able to rally people to resist the Taliban.