Beginning in August, the U.S. Department of Defense quietly began taking down more than 130,000 photos and videos taken during the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan. During a Monday press briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed the removal of the images and said the DoD chose to take what he called a temporary measure to remove images that could be used to identify vulnerable Afghans who worked with the U.S.
Kirby said that starting in August and continuing into September, the DoD reviewed and unpublished 120,000 photos and 17,000 videos shared on publicly-accessible repositories for military photos and press releases, including the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS). The mass removal of photos and videos came as the last U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban seized near-total control of the country.
Task & Purpose was the first to report about the mass removal of U.S. military images taken during the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan. In response to a question from Task & Purpose reporter Jeff Schogol, Kirby said, “We did not delete [the images], but we took off publicly-accessible platforms and archived for future re-publication at a later date, we removed 1000s of still imagery and videos that would show the faces or any other identifiable information about many of the Afghans that we have worked for, and we’ve supported and who have supported us over the last 20 years.”…
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