The war in Afghanistan is going so great these days that the Pentagon doesn’t even want you to know about it.
In a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction — or what the Pentagon refers to as “those fucking guys again” — the watchdog says its DoD overseers restricted the release of unclassified data on the number of districts and population that is under control of the Afghan government or the Taliban.
“This is the first time SIGAR has been specifically instructed not to release information marked ‘unclassified’ to the American taxpayer,” it said in an email statement.
Besides this questionable decision, SIGAR also noted another ding against transparency: For the first time since 2009, the US classified the overall numbers of Afghan defense forces, and for the second quarter in a row, it restricted information on casualties, attrition, and capability assessments — something that SIGAR has reported on in the past.
So this is interesting. We have a war now in its 16th year (congrats guys, we’ve kept this going twice as long as Vietnam!) that has cost $1 trillion to you and I. There have been more than 2,200 US service members killed and 20,000 more have been wounded in Afghanistan. We’re about to send another 1,000 U.S. soldiers in and once again go on a misguided offensive.
And you can bet your life savings the Pentagon would be putting out press releases, holding conference calls, and emailing every reporter in the world if the data on districts under Afghan control were, let’s say, upwards of 80%. But this report is redacted, most likely because that number is closer to 60%, or worse.
According to figures from a February report from SIGAR, the Taliban controls, contests, or influences about 40% of the country.
You can read the full 2018 quarterly report from SIGAR here.
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