With a year-end report card coming due, top U.S. military and civilian officials in Afghanistan have begun to assert that they see concrete progress in the war against the Taliban, a sharp departure from earlier assessments that the insurgency had the momentum.
Despite growing numbers of Taliban attacks and American casualties, U.S. officials are building their case for why they are on the right track, ahead of the December war review ordered by President Obama. They describe an aggressive campaign that has killed or captured hundreds of Taliban leaders and more than 3,000 fighters around the country in recent months, and has pressured insurgents into exploring talks with the Afghan government. At the same time, they say, the Afghan army is bigger and better trained than it has ever been.
"Despite growing numbers of Taliban attacks and American casualties"?
In war, there is no "despite growing numbers of Taliban attacks and American casualties" - - they are the measure of whether you're winning or losing.
Anyone who sees "concrete progress in the war against the Taliban" should not be trusted with Afghan policy.