KABUL: The U.S. State and Defense departments have been accused of concealing critical information from the Congress and the public about the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal and evacuations.
Addressing a conference on Friday, US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, accused the State and Defence Departments of withholding information about Afghanistan.
“The full picture of what happened in August — and all the warning signs that could have predicted that outcome — will only be revealed if the information … is made available,” he added.
Sopko, a consistent critic of the way the Afghan war was conducted by the US — urged two departments to release all the relevant information. He blamed the Pentagon for restricting the public release of information about the performance of the Afghan security forces, which included casualty data.
Details of unit strength, training and operation deficiencies, tactical and operational readiness of Afghan military leadership were also classified.
The Afghan forces, repeatedly extolled by the Pentagon, collapsed in less than two weeks as the Taliban swept across the country, the SIGAR noted.
He also spurned the State Department’s request for suspending access to all audit, inspection and financial audit reports on SIGAR’s website.
Sopko believed the request from the State Department and Pentagon’s curbs on key information prevented lawmakers, the press and the public from knowing the real situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s swift takeover.