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Lawmakers call for Afghan progress report

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the Fiscal Year 2011 budget on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 17, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the Fiscal Year 2011 budget on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 17, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers in both the Senate and the House are to hear progress reports this week on the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, staffer members say.

Unease over military operations in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces prompted lawmakers to schedule last-minute hearings to assess both political and military progress in the country, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

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Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of Central Command, and the undersecretary for defense policy were to appear Tuesday and Wednesday to answer questions following what appears to be a series of setbacks in Afghanistan.

Strong Taliban resistance and lagging Afghan government participation have slowed progress in Marja, a district at the center of the Helmand campaign.

"It's clear the Marja operation did not go as smoothly as expected," said a spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John F. Kerry, D-Mass.

Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., a member of the House Armed Service Committee, says lawmakers are concerned about what is going on in Afghanistan.

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