Senior US lawmakers say the Taliban militants have grown stronger in Afghanistan since the United States increased the number of its troops in the violence-scarred country in 2010.
"I think we both say that what we found is the Taliban is stronger," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein told Fox News Sunday in an interview joined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who backed up her statement.
The two recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan.
The comments came, despite a last-week report to Congress by the US Defense Department that had asserted that President Barack Obama’s dispatch of 33,000 extra troops to Afghanistan in 2010 had weakened the Taliban.
During his recent visit to Afghanistan, Obama himself said the US “has broken the Taliban's momentum.''
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan was launched in 2001. The offensives removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence there of tens of thousands of US-led troops.
The United Nations announced on February 4 that 2011 was the deadliest year on record for Afghan civilians.
Overall, 3,021 civilians died in violence related to the US-led war and 4,507 were wounded in 2011. The death toll showed an eight-percent rise compared to the year before and was roughly double the figure for 2007.
Of the deaths, the UN attributed 77 percent to militant attacks and 14 percent to operations by US-led foreign troops and Afghan forces. Nine percent of the cases were classified as unknown.
PressTV - US lawmakers: Taliban stronger than before US troop surge