This is John Sopko. As the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), he's spent the last three years tracking how the U.S. is spending billions in rebuilding Afghanistan.
While wholly depressing, his quarterly reports have been an invaluable open-source resource for people who track the development of Afghanistan's security forces. Or at least they were.
In his latest report, issued Thursday, something changed. "This quarter, Resolute Support Mission, the new NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces, classified 31 of its responses to SIGAR's data call," the report said. In other words, NATO answered the questions Sopko asked, but then told him that the public can't know what they said.
In an epic bit of shade, Sopko's office decided to list all the questions that they asked that are now apparently too sensitive for the public. Here's a few of them, along with the response we can only assume NATO would now provide if you asked.
"Please provide ... information on Afghan National Army (ANA) strength as of December 29, 2014"
"Please provide details on DOD-funded ANA infrastructure projects, including the cumulative number of projects completed to date and their total cost."
"Please provide details on U.S. efforts to equip the ANA using U.S. funds as of December 29, 2014"
"Please identify each type of aircraft in the [Afghan Air Force] inventory, the number of each; and of that number, the number not usable. Are there any aircraft purchased but not yet fielded?"
"Please provide the status of the [Afghan National Security Forces'] medical/health care system as of December 29, 2014"
"Please provide details on U.S. efforts to equip the [Afghan National Police] using U.S. funds, as of December 29, 2014, including total number and cost of weapons and weapons-related equipment procured and fielded to date"
"Please provide details of DOD/NATO-funded contracts to provide literacy training to the ANSF, including the cost of the contract(s) and estimated cost(s) to complete"
So after 13 years in the country, and another few years at least of more than 5,000 U.S. forces in a "non-combat" role, this is...encouraging.
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.