...KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan has ordered a merger of the office that releases news with "Psy Ops," which deals with propaganda, a move that goes against the alliance's policy, three officials said.
The move has worried Washington's European NATO allies -- Germany has already threatened to pull out of media operations in Afghanistan -- and the officials said it could undermine the credibility of information released to the public.
Seven years into the war against the Taliban, insurgent influence is spreading closer to the capital and Afghans are becoming increasingly disenchanted at the presence of some 65,000 foreign troops and the government of President Hamid Karzai.
Taliban militants, through their website, telephone text messages and frequent calls to reporters, are also gaining ground in the information war, analysts say.
U.S. General David McKiernan, the commander of 50,000 troops from more than 40 nations in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ordered the combination of the Public Affairs Office (PAO), Information Operations and Psy Ops (Psychological Operations) from December 1, said a NATO official with detailed knowledge of the move.
"This will totally undermine the credibility of the information released to the press and the public," said the official, who declined to be named...
"What we are seeing is a gradual increase of American influence in all areas of the war," the NATO official said. "Seeking to gain total control of the information flow from the campaign is just part of that."
Be sure to do any follow-up soon, I'm sure that's one leak to be quickly plugged.