An Iraqi Air Force AC-208 Cessna Caravan aircrew launches a hellfire missile at a target on the Aziziyah Training Range, south of Baghdad, Nov. 8, 2010. (Photo by: Sgt. Brandon Bolick)

The U.S. military may no longer track how much territory the Afghan government controls, but here's at least one definite metric of success: Afghan AC-208 pilots are no longer trained in the United States because more than 40 percent of the students training to fly the aircraft end up deserting within U.S. borders.

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So, how goes the never-ending war in Afghanistan? According to the United States's top government oversight authority on it, well, we don't know and can't say.

"Almost every indicia, metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent," John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told Wednesday. "Over time, it's been classified or it's no longer being collected ... The classification in some areas is needless."

To be clear, Sopko isn't just saying that the Pentagon has opted to keep more information on its progress in Afghanistan classified — he's saying that the Pentagon has outright ceased gathering critical data on whether the United States is actually succeeding or failing after sinking 17 years, 2,400 fallen service members, and $900 billion dollars into a seemingly endless conflict.

This isn't just alarming statement coming from a government watchdog, but a level of mind-numbing epistemic gymnastics on par with Donald Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns."

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If your words of the day today were "cautious optimism," you're in luck, because Army Col. Dave Zinn, who recently returned from Afghanistan, offered exactly that to reporters on Wednesday.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Darien J. Bjorndal)

KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban killed more than 100 members of the Afghan security forces inside a military compound in central Maidan Wardak province on Monday, a senior defense official said.

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The Afghan Taliban may have shown up in the United Arab Emirates for a confab with an extremely conciliatory United States this week, the militant group has a clear message for the Afghan officials who joined the U.S. special peace envoy: F--k your couch.

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Associated Press photo/Rahmat Gul

Taliban fighters massacred more than 57 Afghan military personnel and police officers in four separate attacks across northern Afghanistan, Afghan officials told the New York Times on Monday, the latest in a series of devastating and demoralizing attacks on security forces there.

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