Were Richardson and Cole under orders to sift the chaff of truth from the wheat of narrative or did they act spontaneously for what they thought was the good of the country - an act of heroism they expect one day to be knighted for, no less, or else they'll spill the beans in an autobiography, extracts from which will be serialised in the Daily Mail?
There is certainly, in my experience, a deliberate attempt to control the narrative - and to that you must look to the chain of command. These two do not operate in a vacuum ... their activities are well-known, there have been many complaints about them, and especially Richardson (some at very high level) ... but they remain in post. Why?
And yes, there are political issues here, but it would be wrong to say that the politicians are happy about the way the PR is managed. I am aware of a considerable body of dissatisfaction. However, the Army PR is to an extent, autonomous - at that level beyond political intervention. If the pols raise questions, the Army can always retreat behind the wall of "military decision" - i.e., operational matter - into which territory the pols dare not stray. Even the MoD civil servants (PR specialists) have problems. They can only advise, not direct, Army operations. For "autonomous", therefore, read "law unto itself". It would not be the first time that London had to clean up the messes and smooth ruffled feathers after particularly inept actions by local media ops.
There is also another dimension here ... this is - in theory - a Nato OP, ISAF and all that. Therefore, theatre PR answers not directly to London but to ISAF headquarters in Kabul. Media Ops is very adept at hiding behind the skirts of Kabul, taking action in defiance of London (for instance, refusing to clear material for publication), claiming ISAF as the over-riding authority. By the time Kabul is brought into the loop and "misunderstandings" have been "cleared up", in a fast moving situation it is often too late to apply a corrective. What's done is done.