NATO ignores false Taliban claims of killing US soldiers

Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, took the time and energy to refute a false claim by the Islamic State Khorasan Province that it killed two American soldiers in an IED attack in Nangarhar province on July 7 (the two soldiers were wounded, not killed). However, Resolute Support has ignored numerous fake Taliban reports of American soliders killed, including one from yesterday.

Just yesterday, the Taliban, in a statement on its official propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, claimed it killed four American soldiers in a rocket attack on the Afghan National Army Corps headquarters in Gardez, the provincial capital of Paktia. However, no American soliders have been reported killed or even wounded in an attack in Paktia yesterday. Resolute Support has not taken the time or effort to refute that Taliban statement.

And based on recent history, you should not expect Resolute Support to do so.

In fact, since the beginning of May, the Taliban has issued 11 official statements on Voice of Jihad where it has claimed to have killed 45 American soldiers, including a general (note: the beginning of May was chosen as a start date as it coincides with the beginning of Operation Mansouri, the Taliban’s latest spring offensive; there are dozens of other false casualty reports stretching back through 2016). Resolute Support never challenged any of these Taliban claims (listed below), all which are untrue.

Yet, when the Islamic State Khorasan Province wrongly says it kills Americans, Resolute Support’s public affairs branch immediately jumps into action to knock it down. Why this happens is anyone’s guess. However, it has become abundantly clear over the past year that Resolute Support has expended an inordinate amount of time and energy battling the Islamic State both militarily and in the public relations sphere, while also downplaying the efforts of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and their allies.

This is not to say that the Islamic State is not a threat in Afghanistan; it is. But the reality is that it is a minor threat when compared to the Taliban. Islamic State Khorasan Province controls a handful of districts in Nangarhar and small pockets in a few provinces in the north, while the Taliban controls or contests almost half of Afghanistan.

False Taliban reports of Americans killed since the beginning of May:

July 9, 2017: 4 invaders killed in attack on ANA Corps in Gardez

June 12, 2017: Powerful IED destroys US tank, 5 invaders killed

June 6, 2017: 4 invaders killed and wounded in Garamsir ambush

May 31, 2017: Jalalabad blast kills and wounds 5 American invaders (2 Americans killed, 3 wounded)

May 29, 2017: 2 Americans; 1 NDS agent killed in Nangarhar

May 25, 2017: 10 U.S invaders, 32 local soldiers killed in Kunduz

May 24, 2017: US general, 18 local puppets killed in Kunduz

May 19, 2017: 4 U.S invaders killed in country’s north

May 14, 2017: 4 U.S invaders, 4 local commandos killed in Parwan

May 2, 2017 3 U.S invaders, 3 commandos killed, 6 hurt in country’s east

May 1, 2017: Martyr attack kills 6 American aggressors in eastern Afghanistan

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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