BAGHDAD – Three months after U.S. forces increased troops as part of an intensified security plan to secure Baghdad, a report finds that the effort has fallen short of its goals, the New York Times reported and FOX News confirmed Monday.
An American military assessment completed in May found that U.S. and Iraqi forces could only "protect" or "maintain influence over" a third of Baghdad's neighborhoods.
"This is one of the biggest challenges we have right now — the Iraqis have to hold the areas we clear or else we can't move on to other parts of town," a U.S. source in Baghdad told FOX News. "This is why we have to return to some areas of Baghdad after they were initially cleared."
According to the Times, the planners of the security push had anticipated securing Baghdad by July 2007, but the poor performance of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) had hindered the efforts. Only 146 of the 457 neighborhoods in the capital had been secured.
"We are in a real sticky spot," the source told FOX News. "We want the ISF to hold but there isn't enough of them and many of them that are on the force are not trusted by the people or they don't have the wherewithal to fight certain elements."