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NATO Withholds Key Info On Taliban Assaults: US Watchdog

NATO Withholds Key Information On Taliban Attacks: US Watchdog

The Pentagon is on the right track to chop its troop numbers from about 12,000 to eight,600

Kabul:

NATO’s US-led mission in Afghanistan is withholding key details about Taliban assaults, a US authorities watchdog mentioned Friday, probably making insights into the battle tougher simply because the Pentagon slashes its troop presence.

The Resolute Help (RS) mission beforehand disclosed knowledge on “enemy-initiated assaults”, one of many few remaining public metrics of the battle and the power of the Taliban and different rebel teams.

In its quarterly report launched Friday, the workplace of the Particular Inspector Basic for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) mentioned RS had stopped offering numbers.

As a substitute, RS gave solely a brief assertion noting the Taliban had stepped up assaults in March, instantly after the signing of a US-Taliban deal that was speculated to pave the best way to peace talks.

“Between March 1 and 31, the Taliban shunned assaults in opposition to coalition forces; nevertheless they elevated assaults in opposition to (Afghan forces) to ranges above seasonal norms,” RS mentioned, in accordance with the report.

Beneath the deal, US and different international forces will give up Afghanistan subsequent yr if the Taliban begin peace talks with Kabul and stick to varied safety commitments.

Within the week forward of the February 29 deal signing in Doha, violence plummeted throughout a partial truce and US officers hoped assaults would keep low.

As a substitute, the Taliban instantly resumed assaults on Afghan forces.

In the course of the deal negotiations, the Taliban had agreed to cease hitting international troops, however there was no such prohibition on concentrating on Afghan forces.

‘Unacceptably excessive’ violence

RS instructed SIGAR that it selected to limit knowledge as a result of enemy assaults have been now a “important half” of discussions “concerning ongoing political negotiations between the US and the Taliban”.

SIGAR famous the Pentagon mentioned it’d launch the knowledge sooner or later.

A Pentagon spokesman justified the choice to withhold knowledge, citing ongoing talks.

“So the choice was that we’re working towards a greater answer and a greater place for Afghanistan and that the sharing of that info wouldn’t… transfer the ball ahead,” the spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, instructed reporters.

“The extent of violence by the Taliban is unacceptably excessive,” he mentioned, including that it was not conducive to a diplomatic answer.

The transfer to withhold assault numbers follows a development of diminishing insights into America’s longest battle, which the US has given up ever successful and is as an alternative attempting to finish by means of a political settlement that may present face-saving cowl to go away Afghanistan.

In 2018, RS stopped offering knowledge on how a lot of the nation the Taliban held or contested, amid criticism the battle was at a stalemate.

That adopted a choice by the Afghan authorities to categorise knowledge on what number of of its troopers and police have been getting killed by the Taliban, after stunning figures confirmed a number of thousand have been dying annually.

Information on enemy assaults “was one of many final remaining metrics SIGAR was in a position to make use of to report publicly on the safety scenario in Afghanistan,” the watchdog mentioned.

The Pentagon is on the right track to chop its troop numbers from about 12,000 to eight,600 within the coming months.

In its report, SIGAR additionally warned that Afghanistan faces a brutal toll in its worsening coronavirus disaster.

“Afghanistan’s quite a few and, in some instances, distinctive vulnerabilities… make it seemingly the nation will confront a well being catastrophe within the coming months,” SIGAR mentioned.

Afghanistan officers have up to now confirmed 2,171 instances of COVID-19, together with 64 deaths.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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