US won't publish Taliban attack figures
Washington: The US-led military command in Afghanistan said on Tuesday it will no longer publish figures on Taliban attacks, a week after acknowledging that its report of a 7 per cent decline in attacks last year was actually no decline at all.
A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, Jamie Graybeal, said its reporting on the number of attacks will grow increasingly inaccurate as Afghan forces move further into the battlefield lead.
"Because (Afghan forces) are now conducting an increasing number of successful unilateral operations, often beyond the view of ISAF, we have determined that our databases will become increasingly inaccurate in reflecting the entirety of enemy-initiated attacks," Graybeal said in a written statement.
Coalition officials, including Obama administration officials, had previously cited the reported 2012 drop in Taliban attacks as among a number of signs that the insurgency was in decline and that the Afghans could take on more of the fighting burden.
But reports revealed that ISAF had incorrectly reported Taliban attack figures for 2012.
The error came to light after ISAF removed from its website a set of statistics that included its tally of "enemy initiated attacks," which it had said declined by 7 per cent over 2011 levels.
When the AP inquired about the missing figures, ISAF said they had been removed because they contained errors. It blamed the mistake on a failure to include Afghan-provided attack figures.
Last week, on his final day as defence secretary, Leon Panetta indicated that he was disappointed about the error.
Graybeal said today that the corrected 2012 figures will not be published.