15 years into the Afghan War, Pentagon statements are almost never the final word on what happened. False denials and upbeat predictions that never pan out have left US credibility incredibly low. Time and again, UN reports have contradicted the official US narrative, only to be proven correct, to the embarrassment of the occupation forces.
Patience appears to be wearing thin after 15 years of inconvenient truth getting in the way of the military’s version of events, with both UN and US officials saying relations between the two are “a nightmare,” and that the latest US commander, Gen. John Nicholson, has been considering a serious crackdown on the UN, even recently considering expelling all UN personnel from a military base within Kabul.
The disagreement was a common enough one. US drones had killed a bunch of civilians in the Nangarhar Province, and the Pentagon declared that everyone they killed was ISIS. Locals disputed the US version of events, and the UN concurred that the victims in the house the US blew up were indeed civilians.
It’s worth noting that this happens literally all the time, as in recent years hardly an incident of US airstrikes killing civilians goes by without the initial US statement being that everyone, whether they’re women or children or what have you, were “terrorists.”
As the war gets worse, the UN’s reports are increasingly documenting some of the most unsavory parts, like the rising civilian death toll in Afghanistan including a growing number of people killed in airstrikes, and with US commanders under constant pressure to show at least the illusion of progress in the war, that’s likely to mean growing efforts to silence the UN.