"White House ‘pessimistic’ about Afghanistan war."
The Washington Post reports that the National Security Council “has concluded that wide-ranging strategic goals that the Bush administration set for 2007 have not been met, even as U.S. and NATO forces have scored significant combat successes against resurgent Taliban fighters”:
Intelligence analysts acknowledge the battlefield victories, but they highlight the Taliban’s unchallenged expansion into new territory, an increase in opium poppy cultivation and the weakness of the government of President Hamid Karzai as signs that the war effort is deteriorating. [...]
Overall, “there doesn’t seem to be a lot of progress being made. … I would think that from [the Taliban] standpoint, things are looking decent,” the intelligence official said.
Senior White House officials privately express pessimism about Afghanistan. There is anxiety over the current upheaval in neighboring Pakistan, where both the Taliban and al-Qaeda maintain headquarters, logistical support and training camps along the Afghan border.
A recent report from the Senlis Council found that the Taliban now controls 54 percent of Afghanistan.