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Afghans Feel Less Secure Than in Taliban Years, Pentagon Report Says

FILE - Members of a breakaway faction of the Taliban fighters gather in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.

According to the Pentagon, Afghan citizens feel less secure now than at any other time in the recent past, as civilian casualties rise to their highest level in seven years.

The U.S. Department of Defense released a report late Friday detailing the security situation in Afghanistan.

It said that while the Afghan government remains in control of "all major population centers and key lines of communication," a "resilient insurgency" continues to destabilize the nation.

A survey of Afghan citizens indicated that perceptions of security among them are at an all-time low, with 42 percent saying security is worse now than during the period of Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001.

A U.N. assistance mission in Afghanistan has been tracking civilian casualties since 2009. It says the rate rose to a historic high in 2015 and continued to rise in the first half of this year, as fighting and suicide attacks by insurgents have moved into more populated areas.

Earlier this month, the White House gave the military more authority to conduct offensives against the Taliban, at the request of U.S. military commanders.

President Barack Obama had vowed to reduce U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan from the present 9,800 to 5,500 before he leaves office in January. With circumstances as they are, however, it is not clear whether that plan will be carried out.