US classifies info about Afghan security forces
KABUL (Pajhwok): The US military in Afghanistan is increasingly classifying information about local security forces, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said on Thursday.
In a break with the past practice, the top US general says providing that kind of information could help the insurgents in planning attacks and creates security risks for the 10,600 American trainers.
The federal watchdog, in its quarterly report, said the decision had left SIGAR unable to report on most of the US taxpayer-funded efforts to build, train, equip and sustain the Afghan National Security Forces.
In a Jan. 18 memo, Gen John Campbell wrote he could not say why the information was made available in the past, but he chose to classify sensitive information that his staff feared could be used against US or Afghan troops.
Campbell refused to say publicly how $25 million authorised by Congress had been used to assist women in the Afghan army, what “present for duty” and “unavailable” meant and the total amount of funding the US had spent on Afghan police salaries.
For six years, the SIGAR has released regular reports that track the progress of the $65 billion the US has spent to build Afghanistan’s infrastructure, development and security forces.
Now information in a classified appendix is available only to government officials, with a high enough security clearance. "I am deeply concerned with the implications of this sudden classification decision," said John Sopko.
In 2009, the Pentagon began providing twice a year reports mandated by Congress on the overall security situation and the progress of Afghan forces. Those publicly available reports included similar information that had been provided publicly to SIGAR.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.