President Barack Obama says he still intends to withdraw 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan next year and the administration’s strategy for winding down the war remains unchanged.
Mr Obama made his declaration in a letter to congressional leaders yesterday. The letter accompanied a semi-annual report assessing the administration’s policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The letter reports improvement in the fight against al Qaida, a reversal in the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan and headway in the training of Afghan security forces.
But the report is less upbeat about Pakistan, citing continued US-Pakistan strains over the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
There is no mention of the links that US officials have alleged between Pakistan intelligence and the Haqqani insurgent network. The report, however, contains two classified annexes that were not made public.