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“In addition, the Afghan government remains unable to protect citizens against violence and intimidation by the Taliban and other armed groups,” it adds.

Moreover, the report says, Afghan President Hamid Karzai undercut the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission when he dismissed three of its nine commissioners in December 2011.

Janan Mosazai, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Kabul, said the Afghan government is “fully committed to ensuring religious freedom for followers of all religions in Afghanistan, something our constitution is very clear about.”

“We also need to compare conditions in Afghanistan today with the suffering and brutality that people of all faiths were subjected throughout the 1990s — first during the civil war and then under the Taliban regime,” Mr. Mosazai said in an email.

In light of the withdrawal of most coalition combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the commission recommended that the U.S. government increase and strengthen diplomatic, development and military engagement to promote human rights, especially religious freedom in the country.

Afghanistan is at a critical junction, Mr. Thames said.

“President Karzai’s recent call to crack down on ‘un-Islamic’ television programming demonstrates the tenuous nature of freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” he said. “To ensure the government does not adopt a Talibanesque system repressing independent thought, the United States should increase its promotion of human rights, especially religious freedom.”

The report recommends that the secretary of State redesignate Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan as countries of particular concern.

In addition to Pakistan, six other countries — Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam — should be designated as countries of particular concern, it says.