The Slatest

In What Is Probably Not a Good Sign, the Pentagon Is Censoring Data About Whether We’re Winning in Afghanistan

Vice president Mike Pence at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on Dec. 21, 2017.
Vice president Mike Pence at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on Dec. 21, 2017. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Well, hmm:

The top U.S. watchdog on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan issued its quarterly report to Congress on Tuesday, harshly criticizing military officials for censoring information on the number of districts under control of the government or insurgent groups like the Taliban.

That’s from a report by Voice of America. The Pentagon says the redaction of information given to the federal oversight agency SIGAR was an unintentional matter of “human error” and has since released the data in question, which indicates that only 56 percent of Afghanistan is controlled by U.S.-backed Afghan government forces. The Associated Press notes, however, that “other previously available information on the size, attrition and performance of the Afghan forces continue to be unavailable.” The additional information the AP is referring to appears to have been made unavailable in October 2017, before which it had published in most SIGAR reports since 2008.

It seems like the Pentagon did not learn its lesson about transparency and quagmire wars from the hit Steven Spielberg film The Post, starring Oscar nominee Meryl Streep as pioneering journalism hero Katherine Graham!

In related news, the U.N. recently announced that opium production in Afghanistan has hit record levels and continues to rise. The U.S. has had a military presence in the country for nearly seventeen years.

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