Security in Afghanistan is deteriorating, violence is increasing, and the Islamic State has become “operationally emergent” in the country’s east, though insurgents have not been able to exert lasting control over any major population centers, the Pentagon says in a new report. The document, titled “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” comes as a crucial time, as it assesses as a crucial time, as it assesses the Afghan forces and the Taliban in the past summer fighting season, the first time coalition troops were largely absent from the battlefield. “In their first fighting season against an Afghan-led counterinsurgency, the Taliban-led insurgent threat remains resilient,” says the report, which looked at the period from June 1 to Nov. 30. “Fighting has been nearly continuous since February 2015.” The Afghan forces, which the U.S. funds at more than $4 billion annually, took a record casualties at a record rate, which could have been partially mitigated through better equipment and medical evacuation capabilities, the report says. The Taliban also suffered heavy losses. “We said from the beginning that this was going to be a tough year,” said Col. Michael Lawhorn, spokesman for the U.S. military coalition. While violence is up around the country, high-profile attacks in the capital, Kabul, saw a dramatic rise, by 27 percent over the same period in 2014, according to the report. Afghan attitudes about their own security are concurrently becoming more pessimistic: The report found that only 28 percent considered security in their area to be good, down from 45 percent in 2013. “The (Afghan security forces) are generally capable and effective at protecting the major population centers, or not allowing the Taliban to maintain their hold for a prolonged period of time,” the report says. “At the same time, the Taliban have proven capable of taking rural areas and contesting key terrain in areas such as Helmand while continuing to conduct high-profile attacks in Kabul.” Echoing recent statements by military officials, the report found that logistics, air power and operational planning to be major shortcomings of the Afghan security forces. It criticized them for being too focused on checkpoints and unable to hold territory once they regain it. “What we’d like to see them do is come off the checkpoints a bit and be more mobile,” Lawhorn said. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, rejected the assertion that the Afghan military is too reliant on checkpoints, saying that between Tuesday and Wednesday alone there were 13 operations in 12 provinces. He also said it was unrealistic to expect Afghanistan’s stretched forces to hold every scrap of the largely rural, mountainous country. “Afghanistan has 34 provinces and about 400 districts, so we can’t put checkpoints or military posts everywhere in the country to secure the area,” Waziri said. Afghan forces still lack significant close air support — considered a vital element of any counterinsurgency strategy — though the nascent air force has increased its operations this year. The report found that the service continues to struggle to complete basic maintenance and procure spare parts for their aircraft. Another persistent problem the report highlights is a high rate of desertion among the Afghan rank and file.