WASHINGTON: Despite waging nearly 17 continuous years of war and spending $1 trillion on Afgan conflict, the United States and allied local security forces have failed to cover most of Afghanistan.
According to a recent BBC study, Taliban fighters are now openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan. The report also revealed that Islamic State militant group (ISIS) are more active in Afghanistan than ever before.
What did mostly trouble and worry federal watchdog was that none of this information could be included in its mandatory quarterly report on the war. John Sopko, head of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said he was advised by the Department of Defense (DOD) not to reveal the reports on the number of districts, and the population living in them and controlled by the Afghan administration or by the Taliban group, or contested by both.
“SIGAR was informed this quarter that DOD has determined that although the most recent numbers are unclassified, they are not releasable to the public,” a letter preceding SIGAR’s report reads.
It happened for the first time that watchdog was blocked from releasing the assessments, on which it has reported since January 2016, and in fact it did never happen previously either that SIGAR has been advised not release information marked ‘unclassified’ to the American taxpayer, since it was produced by Congress in 2008 to examine the already advanced United States role in conflict.
Days after the United States released the statistics, and Navy Captain Thomas Gresback, the spokesperson for coalition troops in Afghanistan, told Newsweek in an email,
“A human error in labeling occurred” and “It was NOT the intent…to withhold or classify information which was available in prior reports.”
Thomas refused the figures were censored and said the United States-led coalition was in control of 56 percent of the Afganistan, but according to BBC report those figures were even lower, at 30 percent, less than 3rd of Afghanistan.
However, Gresback said Taliban group controlled 14 percent of Afghanistan, and BBC reported that Taliban are now in full control of 4% of the country.
In August 2017 the United States said, it has 11,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, higher than ever before.