Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) expressed concern about discouraging trends and ongoing problems in Afghanistan outlined in a long-awaited report to Congress.   Skelton said the report, “Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan”, demonstrates the need to significantly increase the attention and resources devoted to the effort in Afghanistan.

 “This report presents the stark fact that we simply haven’t made the progress needed to succeed in Afghanistan.  Problems involving the country’s security, governance, and economic development continue.  I am particularly disappointed by the deterioration in security last year, which in the spring and summer recorded the highest levels of violence since the United States and the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) began involvement in Afghanistan. 

 “The mission in Afghanistan continues to be limited by shortfalls in both military and civilian resources.  The problems are manifold: too few trainers and mentors for the Afghan National Security Forces; pervasive corruption and a lack of leadership and human capital within the Government of Afghanistan; slow progress in economic reconstruction and in the counternarcotics fight; and the ongoing existence of insurgent safe havens along the border with Pakistan, one of the greatest challenges to long-term security in the region.

 “This report reinforces my belief that success in Afghanistan will require a long-term effort. U.S. forces have done yeoman’s work under the most difficult circumstances, but we will continue to short change them until we provide sufficient resources, both military and civilian, to make real and lasting progress in Afghanistan.  Working together with our coalition allies, we must reinforce our resolve to fight the war against terrorists and to support the Afghan people.”

 “Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan” is an inter-agency report to Congress required by section 1230 of the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.  The report is available online at www.defenselink.mil/pubs .