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Amid a battlefield stalemate in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has stopped releasing information often cited to measure progress in America's longest war, calling it of little value in fighting the Taliban insurgency.
The move fits a trend of less information being released about the war in recent years, often at the insistence of the Afghan government, which had previously stopped the U.S. military from disclosing the number of Afghans killed in battle as well as overall attrition within the Afghan army.
Clampdown - President - Trump - Complaint - US
The latest clampdown also aligns with President Trump's complaint that the U.S. gives away too much war information, although there is no evidence that this had any influence on the latest decision.
A government watchdog agency that monitors the U.S. war effort, now in its 18th year, said in a report to Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. military command in Kabul is no longer producing 'district control data,' which shows the number of Afghan districts - and the percentage of their population - controlled by the government compared to the Taliban.
Time - Command - Information - January - Afghan
The last time the command released this information, in January, it showed that Afghan government control was stagnant or slipping.
It said the share of the population under Afghan government control or influence - a figure that was largely unchanged from May 2017 to July 2018 at about 65 per cent - had dropped in October 2018 to 63.5 per cent.
Government - Control - Influence - Districts - Percentage
The government's control or influence of districts fell nearly 2 percentage points, to 53.8 per cent.
Less than two years ago, a top American commander in Afghanistan called population control 'most telling.'
Gen - John - Nicholson - Reporters - November
Gen. John Nicholson told reporters in November 2017 that he wanted to see the figure, then about two-thirds, increase to at least 80 per cent, with the Taliban holding only about 10 per cent and the rest contested.
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