A new U.S. Defense Department report says Afghanistan is seeing slightly less violence in heavily populated areas.
The report also says Pakistan remains a security problem because Islamic militants continue to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven to prepare attacks.
The report says the security of many of Afghanistan’s largest cities has "increased substantially," with the number of militant attacks in the first nine months of 2012 falling about 3 percent in these areas.
However, it said the number of overall civilian casualties actually increased by 18 percent, to about 2,700, in comparison to the same period last year.
The report said the insurgency's safe havens in Pakistan and "endemic corruption" remain the greatest risks to long-term stability and sustainable security in Afghanistan.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa