The April 2012 update of the U.S. Department of Defense's "Report on Progress toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan" covers the period from October 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012.
The executive summary states, "During the current reporting period of October 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and its Afghan partners have continued to build on and expand this progress. The year 2011 saw the first year-over-year decline in nationwide enemy-initiated attacks in five years. These trends have continued in 2012. The performance of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the close partnership between the ANSF and ISAF have been keys to this success. As a result, the ANSF continue to develop into a force capable of assuming the lead for security responsibility throughout Afghanistan. Security progress and the development of the ANSF during the reporting period have enabled the security Transition process to continue in accordance with Lisbon Summit commitments. As of the end of the reporting period, nearly 50 percent of Afghans were living in areas where the ANSF have begun to assume the lead for security.
Despite these and other positive trends during the reporting period, the campaign also continued to face both long-term and acute challenges. The Taliban-led insurgency and its al Qaeda affiliates still operate with impunity from sanctuaries in Pakistan. The insurgency's safe haven in Pakistan, as well as the limited capacity of the Afghan Government, remain the biggest risks to the process of turning security gains into a durable and sustainable Afghanistan. The insurgency benefits from safe havens inside Pakistan with notable operational and regenerative capacity. The insurgency remains a resilient and determined enemy and will likely attempt to regain lost ground and influence this spring and summer through assassinations, intimidation, high-profile attacks, and the emplacement of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Additionally, the Afghan Government continues to face widespread corruption that limits its effectiveness and legitimacy and bolsters insurgent messaging.
The relationship between ISAF and the Afghan Government and its security forces endured significant shocks during the reporting period stemming from: the video release of U.S. Marines defiling corpses presumed to be Taliban fighters; the inadvertent burning of religious materials, including the Holy Quran, by U.S. personnel at Bagram Air Base; "green-on-blue" attacks in which members of the ANSF killed ISAF personnel, such as the killing of two U.S. military officers at the Afghan Ministry of Interior; and the killing of seventeen Afghan civilians in Panjwa'I District, Kandahar Province, allegedly by a lone U.S. Soldier. Although widespread demonstrations sparked by the Quran burnings triggered violence that led to the death of several Afghan citizens, the vast majority of ANSF personnel across the country responded professionally and played a critical role in managing the demonstrations, containing violence, and protecting both Afghan citizens and numerous ISAF and international community facilities and personnel. The effective ANSF response, conducted in accordance with training, demonstrated preparedness to respond to unexpected challenges, commitment to mission, and durability in the relationship with ISAF that withstood impassioned calls by demonstrators to exact retribution amidst a highly charged environment."