State of the Union 2011: Fact Checking President Obama's Speech


July 2010, the month before most combat forces pulled out, was the deadliest month for Iraqi civilians in two years. In recent days, more than a hundred Iraqis have been wounded in attacks against Shiite pilgrims and other minorities.

War in Afghanistan:

"Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them."

The president portrayed an optimistic picture of the war in Afghanistan, but on the ground, there is an alternative narrative that the war is not going so well.

A quarterly assessment of the war by the umbrella security office for NGOs in Afghanistan says there is "indisputable evidence" that conditions in Afghanistan are deteriorating.

Attacks have increased by two-thirds over already record levels in 2009, the "highest annual growth rate we have recorded," the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office says. "Their momentum would appear unaffected by U.S.-led counterinsurgency measures."

There was also a 42 percent increase in fatalities in 2010 from 2009.

The group dismisses U.S. claims that there has been significant progress in the south: "Massive interventions in Helmand and Kandahar ... achieved little other than to diversify and diffuse the insurgency."

Al Qaeda in Pakistan:

"In Pakistan, al Qaeda's leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe havens are shrinking."

Drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas, which have grown steadily in the last year, have killed a number of top al Qaeda operatives but the threat from the group is far from over.

The Secretary of State's annual terrorism report released in August said the group was still resilient and remained the biggest threat to U.S. interests around the world. The report pointed to Pakistan and Yemen as countries that were most at risk from al Qaeda and found that the group still had enough outreach in Europe and elsewhere to be able to recruit new members.

In Pakistan, terror attacks continue to plague citizens and suicide attacks allegedly by al Qaeda-affiliated groups have rocked the country. Just today, a teen suicide bomber killed at least 10 people in a suicide attack in Lahore and another attack took place in the southern port city of Karachi.

ABC News' Nick Schifrin contributed to this report.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12760731.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...