Watchdog Report Shows Gaps In Information About Afghanistan War

Afghan volunteers carry bodies at the scene of a car bomb exploded in front of the old Ministry of Interior building in Kabul on Jan. 27 2018

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, according to the militant group's Amaq news agency. "There may be a time, but it's going to be a long time", Trump said during a working lunch with the UN Security Council at the White House.

The US government has sometimes referred to such numbers in the 16-year-old war to show how the Afghan security forces are faring against a resurgent Taliban. It is a whole different fight over there. More than 90 people were dead and another 158 received fatal injuries in the suicide attack.

The expanded authorities provided [by President Trump] to USA forces in Afghanistan have resulted in a significant uptick in US air strikes and special operations against the insurgency, with the USA dropping 653 munitions in October 2017, a record high since 2012 and a more than three-fold increase from October 2016.

Both the Taliban and ISIS have claimed separate attacks in Kabul, including a siege at an global hotel that killed 22 people as well as a devastating suicide bombing using an ambulance.

Afghanistan's U.N. Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal told Reuters yesterday that fighting needed to continue against certain elements of the Taliban.

Sopko said the Pentagon has said about 64 percent of Afghanistan's population lives in areas under government control, with 12 percent under insurgent control and the remaining 24 percent in contested areas. This information was also not included in the report last quarter from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction - which was set up by Congress to audit USA spending in the country's longest-running war.

"No one has data, really, on how the Taliban is performing, what its casualty rates are, and a range of information like that", he said.

"We condemn this heinous terrorist attack".

For the first time since 2009, the Defense Department didn't let the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction release his assessments of Afghan force strength or of territory that's held by the government, lost to the Taliban or contested, John Sopko said in his latest quarterly report.

It's not clear why the information wasn't released in the report, in what SIGAR described as a "worrisome development".

That was before a suicide bomber penetrated the highly guarded centre of Kabul on Saturday and detonated an ambulance laden with explosives, killing more than 100 people and wounding at least 235.

Asked to comment on President Trump's tweet on Pakistan, Petraeus said it represented an accumulation of frustration, and probably not just with his administration but building on the accumulation of previous administrations where many of us were trying very hard to, frankly, to help our Pakistani partners, as they were combating the TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), dealing with some of the other extremists inside their country that many of us believe represent the most significant existential threat to Pakistan.

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