Hours after a Pentagon watchdog criticized the Defense Department for blocking the inclusion of unclassified information in his reports on the war in Afghanistan, a U.S. military spokesman said the information had been withheld because of “human error.”
In a report published just before midnight Monday, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said he was unable to publish information on Afghan force strength or on the amount of territory that’s held by the government. That represented a tightening of secrecy protocols on the quarterly report, a key gauge of U.S. progress in what has become America’s longest war.
“Historically, the number of districts controlled or influenced by the government has been falling,” wrote the inspector general, John Sopko.
Captain Tom Gresback, a Defense Department spokesman, said it wasn’t the Pentagon’s intention to withhold or classify the information, which was available in prior reports.