WASHINGTON, D.C. – A senior US official slammed the administration for “classifying information that shows the war on Afghanistan is going badly”, including data on Afghan troop casualties and assessments of the Taliban’s strength.
John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told Congress “when we talk about mendacity, when we talk about lying, it’s not just lying about a particular program. It’s lying by omissions. It turns out that everything that is bad news has been classified for the last few years”.
Sopko stated that US officials have “lied to the public during the 18-year Afghan war by exaggerating progress reports and inflating statistics to create a false appearance of success”, according to The Washington Post.
He told Congress “there’s an odor of mendacity throughout the Afghanistan issue . . . mendacity and hubris. The problem is there is a disincentive, really, to tell the truth. We have created an incentive to almost require people to lie”.
The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, SIGAR, noted that US officials falsely claimed major gains in Afghan life expectancy that were statistically impossible to achieve, according to the daily.
“US officials have lied in the past about the number of Afghan children enrolled in schools even though they knew the data was bad,” Sopko added.
Sopko was summoned to Congress to testify in response to a series of articles that revealed how US officials lied about the Afghan war, hiding evidence that the 18-year Afghan war had become unwinnable. Since the 2001 invasion, the US has spent more than $132 billion to “modernize” Afghanistan — more than it spent to rebuild Europe after World War II, the paper reported.
Several US lawmakers “expressed shock” that the Afghan war strategy was fundamentally flawed. The US invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks under the banner of the so-called “war on terror” thousands of kilometers away from its own borders.
The invasion deposed the Taliban, but the group has never ceased its operations across Afghanistan and has vowed to keep up its attacks until the withdrawal of all US forces. Washington began on-again-off-again peace negotiations with the Taliban, however, the militant group abandoned the talks, citing a lack of resolve on the part of Washington to end the military intervention.