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A tale of two Afghanistan outlooks

Posted by Jesse Singal  December 16, 2010 12:18 PM

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So, how's that whole Afghanistan war thing going? Depends whom you ask.

From the AP:

President Barack Obama has said the war in Afghanistan remains "a very difficult endeavor" but the nation is on track to achieve its goals.

The president says the U.S. has made "significant progress" in disrupting the al-Qaida network that attacked America.

Obama spoke as he released a government review of progress on the war in Afghanistan. It found that the power of al-Qaida and the Taliban is eroding.

From yesterday's LA Times:

Two new assessments by the U.S. intelligence community present a gloomy picture of the Afghanistan war, contradicting a more upbeat view expressed by military officials as the White House prepares to release a progress report on the 9-year-old conflict.

The classified intelligence reports contend that large swaths of Afghanistan are still at risk of falling to the Taliban, according to officials who were briefed on the National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which represent the collective view of more than a dozen intelligence agencies.

The reports, the subject of a recent closed hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee, also say Pakistan's government remains unwilling to stop its covert support for members of the Afghan Taliban who mount attacks against U.S. troops from the tribal areas of the neighboring nation. The officials declined to be named because they were discussing classified data.

Whatever you think about Julian Assange and his tactics, it isn't hard to understand why so many people have flocked to his defense. Getting a straight answer out of the government on matters of war is a perennial problem, regardless of the administration.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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