Everything's Not Coming Up Poppies

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The Pentagon’s latest report on progress in Afghanistan, released late Wednesday afternoon, is mixed, but it starts out upbeat:

Progress across the country remains uneven, with modest gains in security, governance, and development in operational priority areas. The deliberate application of our strategy is beginning to have cumulative effects and security is slowly beginning to expand. Although significant challenges exist, some signs of progress are evident. Areas of security in Kabul and the surrounding districts have allowed for improvements in development and governance. Progress is also visible in areas where Coalition forces have been on the ground for more than six months, such as Central Helmand Province. Socio-economic development throughout the country is slowly improving, as the Afghan Government shows initial signs of improving essential service delivery, although it is limited still by the security environment in some areas. Agricultural development and productivity has also improved. Overall governance and development progress continues to lag security gains. Governance capacity and economic development are long-term efforts that will require sustained support from the international community.

But deeper into the report are lots of bleak details about the Taliban’s spread and growing clout. See the full report here.