Pentagon accused of lying on Afghanistan troop number

Updated 2018-05-16 16:34:05 Xinhua

A U.S. government watchdog said Tuesday that the Pentagon has provided the wrong number of Afghan government troops earlier this month, exaggerating its decline.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a statement that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have 313,728 military personnel as of Jan. 31 this year, instead of the 296,409 that the Pentagon reported earlier in May.

It said the Pentagon failed to include the Afghan Border Force in the tally.

"This is the latest in a series of problems SIGAR has faced over the last three quarters with DOD's (Department of Defense) responses to our requests for ANDSF information," the statement said.

"SIGAR respectfully requests the appropriate congressional committees and the secretary of Defense remind all DOD components of their statutory duty to provide accurate and timely data concerning the ANDSF for SIGAR's quarterly reports," it added.

The new number would put the year-on-year drop of the ANDSF at 17,980, instead of 35,999, a number SIGAR said not as serious as previously suggested but also indicated a serious trend in the war-torn country that its government is losing control over the country while the Taliban is extending its influence.

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