The U.S. edition of The Washington Post has published previously classified documents on the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan. The material about it appeared on the website of the publication on December 9.
In Afghan papers: The secret history of war – hundreds of documents that directly testify to many years of lies, stolen billions and thousands of deaths.
“In frank interviews, senior U.S. officials and others directly involved in the war criticized how the government and the military had failed to cope with the conflict for 18 years, detailing the many mistakes, bad strategies and pervasive corruption that characterized the conflict”, – the newspaper wrote.
Interviewees admitted that they could not tell the public the truth about the war in Afghanistan.
Interviews were conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) as part of a federal project to examine the causes of the failure of the longest-lasting armed conflict in U.S. history.
Finally, the journalists opened more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes and transcripts from 428 interviews, as well as several audio recordings.
The documents identify 62 of those interviewed, but SIGAR has crossed out the names of 366 others. In the legal reports, the agency argued that these individuals should be considered informants and informants who may face humiliation, harassment, retaliation or physical harm if their names become public.
By cross-referencing the dates and other details of the documents, The Post independently identified 33 other individuals who were interviewed, including several former ambassadors, generals and White House officials.
The Washington Post received the right to publish documents under the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year trial.
The paper stresses that it has decided to publish the documents now, rather than waiting for the final court decision, “to inform the public while the Trump administration negotiates with the Taliban and considers withdrawing the 13,000 U.S. military personnel who remain in Afghanistan.
The publication claims that the documents also contradict public statements by U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats, who year after year assured Americans that they had made progress in Afghanistan and that it was worth getting involved in the war.
Some officials described “clear and consistent efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public”.
The documents suggest that it was “normal” for the military headquarters in Kabul and the White House to distort statistics to give the impression that the United States was winning the war, although this was not the case, the newspaper notes.
SIGAR head John Sopko told the Washington Post that the documents showed that “the American people were constantly being lied to.
It turned out that the U.S. spent huge sums of money trying to change the situation in Afghanistan, but turned a blind eye to corruption.
One unnamed head from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) suggested that 90 percent of the money they spent had been wasted.
“We lost our objectivity. We were given money, told to spend, and we did it for no reason”, – he said.
One unidentified contractor told government interviewers that he was supposed to give out $3 million a day for projects in only one Afghan district, roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman if he could spend that kind of money responsibly in the United States.
He said, “Hell, no. Well, sir, you just made us spend it here, and I’m doing it for communities that live in dirty, windowless huts”, – said the outraged contractor.
Since 2001, the Department of Defense, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion.
This estimate of inflation-adjusted spending was given by Neta Crawford, a professor of political science at Brown University.
Over the past 18 years, the United States has spent about $9 billion on counter-narcotics, but Afghan farmers are growing more opium poppy than ever before.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan accounted for 82% of the world’s opium production last year.
The documents released include more than 400 interviews with the military, diplomats and officials. The Washington Post’s publication shows that senior U.S. officials have not told the truth about the war in Afghanistan for years, making rainbow but false statements. They concealed evidence that the war had actually been lost.
According to the Ministry of Defense publication, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to Afghanistan since 2001, many times over. Of these, 2,300 people died and 20,589 were injured in combat.
The newspaper cited notes by Donald Rumsfeld, Minister of Defence in the administration of George W. Bush. They stressed that the USA did not have a clear strategy in Afghanistan from the very beginning.
Dozens of interviewees confirmed this, saying that many of the American initiatives in the country were doomed to failure, as the USA did not have a clear picture of the country.
“I don’t understand who the bad guys are in Afghanistan”, – Rumsfeld wrote.
U.S. officials helped destroy the legitimate Afghan government they were publicly fighting for.
Judges, police chiefs and bureaucrats solicited bribes, and many Afghans turned their backs on democracy and turned to the Taliban for order.
Earlier this year, Donald Trump said Washington had not yet made significant progress in Afghanistan.
And in 2018, the U.S. president announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan.Russian-Syrian exercises began in the Mediterranean Sea