The United States reported Thursday that the governments in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq had mixed results in protecting human rights in 2009. In Pakistan, "significant human rights challenges remain" even though the civilian authorities took some "positive steps,"the State Department said in an annual report on human rights abuses worldwide. It said "major problems" included extrajudicial killings, torture, and disappearances. "The security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated significantly because of increased insurgent attacks, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence." With violence over a third of the country, President Hamid Karzai's government had trouble extending its influence and providing essential services, especially in rural areas. It also highlighted August presidential elections marked by charges of "widespread fraud, insufficient conditions for participation by women, and a concerted effort by the Taliban to disrupt the voting. The report said human rights abuses continued in Iraq even the security situation had improved. "There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings in connection with the ongoing conflict, and insurgent and terrorist bombings, executions, and killings continued to affect all regions and sectors of society," it said. It added that "violence against the media was common, and media workers reported that they engaged in self-censorship."