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Afghanistan has gotten worse over the past year, despite Trump’s new strategy

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The war in Afghanistan has gotten worse over the last year despite Pentagon claims of renewed coalition operations and improvements to Afghan defense forces.

Just hours after it was revealed that the Pentagon suppressed data showing the number of districts under Afghan government control, the military abruptly reversed itself and released the statistics to the public, which showed that 44 percent of the country is contested or under the control of insurgents, according to AP.

That number was at 43 percent exactly one year ago, up slightly from the 42.8 percent of insurgent control reported in Nov. 2016 by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

“It was NOT the intent of Resolute Support to withhold or classify information which was available in prior reports,” coalition spokesman Navy Capt. Gresback told AP in an email. “A human error in labeling occurred.”

Sure, I believe you. But my bullshit detector doesn’t.

By the way, in Feb. 2017, Army Gen. John Nicholson, the current commander in Afghanistan, described the situation there to the Senate Armed Services Committee as a “stalemate.” His comments came only days after SIGAR published a report saying, “this quarter saw a worrisome upsurge in insurgent activity.”

“In a report issued in December [2015], the DoD stated that the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated,” the SIGAR report noted. “There are more effective insurgent attacks and more [Afghan defense forces] and Taliban casualties.”

President Donald Trump outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan in Aug. 2017 which, though light on details, offered deployments of additional American troops and a promise of more pressure on Pakistan. About three months later, Nicholson boasted that the US had tripled the amount of airstrikes and munitions dropped in Afghanistan. He also said Afghan forces were going on the offensive and were becoming “more capable,” according to CNBC.

And yet, strangely, the Pentagon has not seen a decline in insurgent control.

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