The senior NATO commander in Afghanistan has issued his personal assessment of the war effort, saying there has been progress but the next year will be "tough."
In a letter to his troops, General David Petraeus called 2010 a year of "significant hard fought accomplishments." However he warned that "the year ahead is likely to be a tough one, too." Petraeus noted security improvements in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, but says that relative security needs to be extended outside Kabul to neighboring provinces.
Petraeus also addressed the issue of corruption in Afghanistan, saying coalition forces need to expand efforts to combat corruption and criminal patronage networks that undermine the development of effective Afghan institutions. He says special attention needs to be paid to the issue of military contracting and procurement.
He says all coalition operations should be conducted in partnership with Afghan government forces, as 2011 begins a year of transferring security tasks in select areas to Afghanistan's government.
General Petraeus' letter was released just hours before President Obama's State of the Union address to the American people. Mr. Obama is also expected to address the Afghan war in his remarks.