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Pentagon publishes Afghan progress report

Published By United Press International
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Insider and anti-coalition attacks in Afghanistan are problems that may require close scrutiny, though a U.S. Defense Department report highlighted some gains.

The Defense Department published a 165-page report to Congress on stability operations in Afghanistan.

The report said attacks by anti-coalition forces in Afghanistan were up marginally from April 1-Sept. 30 compared to the same time last year. The Defense Department attributed the increase, however, to the fact that some low-level insurgents weren't working on poppy cultivation because of a shortened harvest.

While coalition forces handed security responsibility over to Afghan forces, the report said there were ongoing challenges stemming from so-called green-on-blue attacks in the country.

Nevertheless, the report said insurgent influence in the country was declining. Security gains from the influx of international forces, the Defense Department said, are clear.

NATO defense ministers last week expressed their commitment to the long-term security interests of Afghanistan. NATO allies in May agreed to pull forces out of Afghanistan by 2014 as Afghan forces gain strength. The alliance said it was concerned any planned cuts on member's defense budgets may curtail commitments in Afghanistan, however.
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Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa