November 27, 2017

AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR: Pentagon tried to block independent report on child sex among Afghan forces, Senate office says.

Although the report released Nov. 16 by the Defense Department Inspector General’s office (DODIG) reached the grim conclusion that, for years, U.S. personnel have been inadequately trained to report such crimes, a parallel investigation by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is thought to contain a much more detailed accounting of the problem’s severity.

But the results of SIGAR’s unreleased inquiry, which was requested by 93 members of Congress in 2015, remains classified at the Pentagon’s direction, raising questions about the military’s transparency and the extent to which it is complying with laws meant to curb such abuse.

The Pentagon responded with “resistance” when Congress tapped SIGAR to conduct the probe, said Tim Rieser, an aide to Leahy, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee whose namesake legislation, known as the Leahy Law, requires the U.S. military to halt assistance to foreign military units found to have committed gross human rights violations.

Instead, senior Pentagon officials argued that SIGAR, which since 2009 has produced dozens of reports exposing corruption within the Afghan government and incompetence among Afghan security forces, lacked the jurisdiction for this particular task, Rieser said.

“It’s fair to say there was an effort to discourage the investigation” by SIGAR, he said, adding that eventually the two agencies agreed to coordinate and release complementary reports, but that the Pentagon’s investigators did not fulfill promises to fully cooperate.

What do we hope to accomplish with yet another Afghanistan surge?

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