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.
Finally, a bright spot amid 17 years of war in Afghanistan: insurgent control of the country has started to diminish for the first time in nearly two years, according to a quarterly report to Congress from the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published on July 30.
New efforts to stamp out corruption among Afghan government officials and extricate the U.S. military from Afghanistan are going, well, terribly, according to a new report to Congress from the Special Inspector General Report for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
In an abrupt about face, the U.S. military released data Tuesday showing insurgents in Afghanistan are growing stronger after a Pentagon auditing office complained it had been prohibited from releasing the unclassified statistics.
After 16 years and $120 billion spent on the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are alarmingly unprepared to take on the resurgent Taliban that’s slowly clawed back territory since NATO combat operations ended there in 2014. But exactly how unprepared? We may never really know: For only the second time since the beginning of the reconstruction effort in 2002, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has classified and restricted once-public information regarding the state of Afghan security forces, including “casualties, personnel strength, attrition, capability assessments, and operational readiness of equipment” — all key measures of the country's security woes.
Afghan troops traveling to the U.S. for training are going absent without leave at double the previous rate, raising security concerns in their homeland as well as in the U.S., according to a Pentagon watchdog.