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Jun 17, 4:48 PM EDT

Pentagon report says Afghans feel less secure

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new Pentagon report says Afghans feel less secure than at any recent time. It also says Afghan battlefield deaths continue to escalate and civilian casualties have hit a record high.

In a report to Congress covering war developments since December, the Pentagon on Friday cited progress in developing more capable Afghan security forces. But it also said opinion surveys indicate Afghans don't feel better protected.

The report says perceptions of security are near all-time lows. Only 20 percent of Afghans surveyed in March call security good. That is a drop from 39 percent a year earlier.

Forty-two percent of Afghans say security is worse now than during the period the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to late 2001. The report calls the 42 percent figure a historic high.

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