SPC Richard Reilly (C) of and other soldiers with the U.S. Army's 4th squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment patrol with police from Afghanistan's National Defense Service during a 2014 mission to search caves for weapons caches on near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

SPC Richard Reilly (C) of and other soldiers with the U.S. Army's 4th squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment patrol with police from Afghanistan's National Defense Service during a 2014 mission to search caves for weapons caches on near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The United States is at war in Afghanistan. This has been the case for 18 years, across three administrations from both parties.

But over the course of the war, senior U.S. officials repeatedly misled the public about the success of American efforts there, according to a blockbuster investigative report by The Washington Post.

Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock obtained secret government documents that captured officials sharing candid assessments about the war. Their comments were often different than the public messaging around the effort.

With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation.

Last week alone, “at least 57 pro-government forces and 27 civilians were killed in Afghanistan,” The New York Times reports.

The Post reports that since the start of the war, 2,300 American troops have died in Afghanistan, and 20,589 were wounded in action, citing Defense Department figures.

We examine these documents with Whitlock and explore how these revelations might affect a potential American troop withdrawal and negotiations with the Taliban.

Produced by Stacia Brown

Guests

  • Craig Whitlock Reporter covering the Pentagon and National Security, The Washington Post
  • Tom Bowman Pentagon correspondent, NPR; @TBowmanNPR
  • Jennifer Glasse Freelance correspondent, Al Jazeera English, CBC, and PBS NewsHour

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