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Op-Ed: US admits rosy picture of Afghan situation wrong

By Ken Hanly     Feb 27, 2013 in World
Kabul - NATO claims of progress in Afghanistan were buttressed with false figures showing that Taliban attacks were decreasing. Pentagon officials blamed the Afghan military for what they call a "clerical error".
The "clerical error" is said to be the result of Afghan forces submitting certain forms late. Revised data shows no decrease in Taliban attacks but that they are about the same as the previous year. The coalition command in Kabul had originally reported that there had been a 7% decline in attacks over the year
In spite of the original figures being wrong, officials claim that this has not changed their assessment of the situation. Spokesperson for the Pentagon George Little says that the error was discovered only during a recent quality control check. Little said that it was “unhelpful to have inaccurate information in our systems.”
Actually the false data was quite helpful. It allowed the Obama administration to make policy decisions and support them with supposed facts. What is surprising is that the error was made public. Perhaps the new secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will continue to allow corrections to inaccurate data and base his policy on the actual state of affairs in Afghanistan.
The continued shock and denial about abuse by US Special Forces is another situation where the news is manipulated. While Afghans hired by the US seem to have engaged in torture, illegal detention, and even killings, the US Special Forces are supposed to remain untainted. There is said to have been no evidence that they engaged in abuse. There is plenty however from the past and even recently.
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) reports that for a second time US troops have attacked one of their hospitals in Wardak Province. They damaged the site and broke equipment before leaving. This is the second attack in recent months on the same hospital.
Last October, the same hospital was occupied by US troops who took every patient and civilian within the hospital prisoner before leaving after a two and a half day siege. Another hospital had been attacked in 2009 and doctors ordered not to treat anyone until they reported their names to NATO forces.
The most recent attack was actually confirmed by NATO. They insisted it was carried out in conjunction with Afghan forces and that they had compensated the owners of the building for any damage caused. Given these types of actions what is surprising is that US special forces had not been ejected from Wardak earlier. The appended video gives more information on the special militias that work with US special forces.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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