Small Wars Journal

Numbers on US Counterterrorism Efforts in Afghanistan Don't Add Up

Numbers on US Counterterrorism Efforts in Afghanistan Don't Add Up by Chad Garland - Stars & Stripes

KABUL, Afghanistan — Data the Pentagon issued last year to spotlight the success of operations against militant groups in Afghanistan were inaccurate, raising questions about the real progress of the secretive counterterrorism campaign being conducted by the U.S. and Afghan military.

Key figures in the by-the-numbers look at U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism missions in the second half of 2017, which have been published by prominent news outlets, were wrong, defense officials confirmed after Stars and Stripes pointed out discrepancies. The incorrect data — including a breakdown of independent and joint raids and a body count of enemy fighters — were released in an unclassified December report to Congress titled “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan.”

A corrected report was quietly issued in late January, though it also appeared to include errors, such as missing or conflicting data.

Weeks later, the cause of the mistakes remains unclear — at least some could be the result of editing mistakes — but the episode highlights increasing difficulties in obtaining data about U.S. and Afghan operations, even from records meant to hold the military accountable to the 16-year war’s congressional overseers…

Read on.