NATO suddenly classifies ratings of Afghan military and police capabilities

A month before U.S. Marines and British military forces began their current withdrawal from Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan abruptly classified its assessment of the fighting abilities of the Afghan army and police forces, which the U.S. has spent an estimated $61.5 billion to build up.

Portions of these assessments have been released to the public the past nine years. But on Oct. 3, ISAF’s Joint Command told independent federal auditors of the reconstruction effort that the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction by email that the latest ratings now are classified in their entirety.

ISAF’s Joint Command decided that sections of the reports that discuss the capabilities of the Afghan army or police force should be classified at the “Restricted” level, while an overall tally of the number of units deemed capable of meeting leadership, combat, training, and other requirements was given the higher classification of “SECRET”, according to an email from the command, obtained by CPI.

ISAF’s press office in Kabul did not respond to requests for an explanation.