Today, The New York Times published an article titled “How the U.S. Government Misleads the Public on Afghanistan.” FDD’s Long War Journal data on Taliban controlled and contested districts is compared to US military data. The side-by side comparison is striking. LWJ has long argued that the US military has provided a Pollyannish, best-case scenario of Taliban controlled & contested districts that downplays the Taliban’s territorial influence.
The NYT article also points out several areas where the US government is exaggerating and misleading the public on Afghanistan. For instance, the the report looks at Afghan and Taliban force strengths, and how they are perceived by the US military and the Afghan government. The article finishes with a side-by-side comparison of US military statements vs NYT reporting about the Taliban’s incursion into Ghazni that is wildly unflattering. LWJ noted from the beginning of the Ghazni attack up until the end that the US military was issuing statements that did not comport to the reality on the ground.