As of June 27, the International Security Assistance Force has terminated its daily “operational update” reports. From ISAF’s Facebook page:
Afghan Progress: starting today, we will no longer be publishing daily operational updates from the ISAF Joint Command. In their place, we will now share with you operational updates provided directly from the Ministry of Defense, who now take the lead in sharing news from around Afghanistan. Read on for the first MoD Operational Update!
The shutoff off of the flow of daily operational updates will further restrict the information on US and Coalition operations in Afghanistan. For years, these updates have provided a wealth of information on raids against the networks of various terror groups such as al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-i-Islami Khalis, the Haqqani Network, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and others. Additionally, the operational updates have contributed to an understanding of how groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have integrated with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. Occasionally, we’d even learn the location of training camps.
The operational updates have stopped even as tens of thousands of US combat troops are still operating in Afghanistan and will continue to do so at least until the end of 2014, when the US’s official combat role in Afghanistan is slated to end. The reality is that the raids against the al Qaeda and allied terror groups are led by US and Coalition special operations teams, not Afghan commandos.
The Obama administration has for more than two years claimed that al Qaeda has been degraded to the point of irrelevance in Afghanistan. But the daily operational updates have told a different story: that Qaeda and its allies remain entrenched in Afghanistan and continue to cooperate closely with the Taliban. Unfortunately, the loss of these operational updates will serve only to obscure al Qaeda’s role in Afghanistan.