A cross-section of organizations signed a letter late last week to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan calling for a reversal of the military’s decision to stop collecting and releasing important information related to Afghanistan’s stability and vital to Americans’ understanding of the war. The organizations are concerned the military will no longer assess district level insurgent or government control in the region as reported in the most recent Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction report.
According to the letter: “Public access to information about the U.S. military is vital. Civilian casualties have increased in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan – the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) found that there were more civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2018 than in any other year since they began counting – and Afghanistan in particular is suffering from continued instability. Given these developments, it appears that the Department is restricting access in order to hide embarrassing information from the public. This is unacceptable, and the public has a right to assess U.S. military actions overseas for themselves.”