Small Wars Journal

SIGAR: Drug Lab Bombing a Dead End, Most Metrics for Success or Failure in Afghanistan are ‘Classified or Nonexistent'

SIGAR: Drug Lab Bombing a Dead End, Most Metrics for Success or Failure in Afghanistan are ‘Classified or Nonexistent' by Kyle Rempfer - Military Times

The drug lab bombing campaign that was championed as a game-changer didn’t have the intended effect of hitting the Taliban’s purse and was probably a waste of resources.

 

That was one of the conclusions made Wednesday morning during a round-table discussion with John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, the U.S. government’s primary oversight authority on the mission there.

 

It’s also still up to debate how much the Taliban are actually involved in illicit narcotics. At the same time, Afghanistan’s security forces look increasingly stretched thin, with force strength and Afghan government control over the country slipping.

 

To top it off, “almost every indicia, metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent,” Sopko said.

 

That process happened gradually and isn’t the fault of any one presidential administration, he added. “Over time, it’s been classified or it’s no longer being collected.”

 

Public sources, for instance, indicate that the casualty rate for Afghan forces is high, and it’s growing, Sopko said. However, the number of Afghan troops killed in combat is classified at the request of the Afghan government and has been for some time. Other metrics like attrition, capability assessments, and operational readiness of equipment became classified in 2017

Read on.