Taliban attacks no longer will be tracked
WASHINGTON — The U.S.-led military command in Afghanistan will no longer count and publish the number of Taliban attacks, a statistical measure that it once touted as a gauge of American and allied success but now dismisses as flawed.
The move occurs one week after the coalition, known as the International Security Assistance Force, acknowledged in response to inquiries by The Associated Press that it had incorrectly reported a 7 percent drop in Taliban attacks in 2012 compared to 2011. There was no decline at all, ISAF officials now say.
The mistake, attributed by ISAF officials to a clerical error, called into question the validity of repeated statements by allied officials that the Taliban was in steep decline.
Anthony Cordesman, a close observer of the war as an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it had been clear for months that ISAF's figures were flawed.
“The truth is they should not have published them in the first place,” he said. “A great many people realized from the start that it was a meaningless measurement” because it implies that in order to succeed, the Taliban has to keep attacking rather than gaining ground by influencing ordinary Afghans. It's that influence which needs to be overcome in order to ensure the viability of the Afghan government.
“Over the last year, it has become clearer and clearer that not only was the measurement meaningless, but it became embarrassing because there weren't any (ISAF and Afghan) gains,” he added, noting that Taliban attacks last year were more numerous than in 2009, before President Obama sent an extra 30,000 U.S. “surge” troops.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Surge in small drones making airline pilots nervous
- Boston airport’s ‘naked man’ remains behind bars
- Obama’s immigration actions neglect business pleas
- Obama administration announces plan to limit smog-forming ozone
- Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has stent placed in heart artery
- In Ferguson, demonstrations over black youth’s slaying by police officer peter out
- Test vaccine to fight Ebola promising
- Fissures begin to emerge among Dems
- Ferguson testimony filled with variations
- Fewer adults smoking, U.S. survey finds
- House ethics panel defers campaign finance investigation of New York Rep. Grimm