Pentagon accused of lying on Afghan troop number

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Washington, May 16 (IANS) A US government watchdog has said 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 on Tuesday that the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) had 313,728 military personnel as of January 31, instead of the 296,409 that the Pentagon reported earlier in May, Xinhua news agency reported.

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

The SIGAR requested “the appropriate congressional committees and the Secretary of Defence to remind all Department Of Defence components of their statutory duty to provide accurate and timely data concerning the ANDSF for quarterly reports”.

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

–IANS

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