In Iraq, the overall security situation continues to improve, with violence now down to levels last seen in 2003. In Basra, the Iraqi Security Forces are maintaining the significant security gains achieved over the course of 2008.
In Afghanistan, considerable progress has been made but the insurgency remains resilient. The majority of people can go about their daily lives but in certain areas of the country, particularly in the south and east, significant security challenges remain. The Taliban have failed using conventional tactics and are turning to increasingly indiscriminate attacks, which show complete disregard for the safety of the local population.