KABUL (Pajhwok): The State and Defense departments have been accused of withholding critical information about their work in Afghanistan from Congress and the public.
John Sopko, US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, assailed the two institutions while addressing a conference in Arlington:
“The full picture of what happened in August — and all the warning signs that could have predicted that outcome — will only be revealed if the information … is made available,” he added.
CNN quoted Sopko — a consistent critic of the way the Afghan war was conducted by the US — as urging the two departments to release all the relevant information.
He blamed the Pentagon for restricting the public release of information about the performance of the Afghan security forces, which included casualty data.
Details of unit strength, training and operation deficiencies, tactical and operational readiness of Afghan military leadership were also classified.
The Afghan forces, repeatedly extolled by the Pentagon, collapsed in less than two weeks as the Taliban swept across the country, the SIGAR noted.
He also spurned the State Department’s request for suspending access to all audit, inspection and financial audit reports on SIGAR’s website.
Sopko believed the request from the State Department and Pentagon’s curbs on key information prevented lawmakers, the press and the public from knowing the real situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s swift takeover.