US officials misled Americans on war in Afghanistan: Report

WION Web Team New Delhi Dec 10, 2019, 07.29 PM(IST)

File photo of US troops in Afghanistan. Photograph:( AFP )

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The report reveals that US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that it had obtained a confidential trove of government documents on how US officials misled Americans on the war in Afghanistan.

It reveals that US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign.

The report said officials made rosy pronouncements they knew were false and hid "unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. The report details how the Pentagon officials privately told a watchdog for years about their deep concerns about the US war strategy in Afghanistan, including senior officials who were publicly more hopeful.

The disclosure comes even as US President Donald Trump and the Pentagon look to draw down the number of forces in Afghanistan.

The report quotes a three-star army general as saying that the US was devoid of "fundamental understanding" of Afghanistan and that it didn't know what it was doing.

The general served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the presidencies of Geroge W. Bush and Barack Obama. In the report, the US general said that the United States didn’t have the foggiest notion of what it was undertaking in Afghanistan, blaming the deaths of US military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among the legislature and the government.

In public, however, the US military commanders throughout the war talked about how the conflict in Afghanistan was turning a corner, the report said.

The documents accessed by the Washington Post show US generals and officials acknowledging that the strategies for fighting the Afghan war were flawed and that the US wasted hundreds of billions of dollars trying to make Afghanistan into a stable, democratic nation.

The US and its allies had invaded Afghanistan 18 years ago to oust the Taliban from power for sheltering al-Qaeda leaders who were accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks. The Afghan war is estimated to have killed more than 1,50,000 people, including civilians, insurgents, local and foreign troops.

The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 2,400 US military personnel and cost the US one trillion dollars.

The US and the Afghan-Taliban restarted peace negotiations on Saturday, three months after Trump abruptly stopped the year-long process aimed at finding a political settlement with the insurgent group and ending the war in Afghanistan.

The Afghan-born US special representative, Zalmay Khalilzad, led his team at a meeting on Saturday in Doha, where the Taliban negotiators are based. The draft agreement reached between the US and Taliban would have set the stage for a phased withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban had given certain guarantees and promised to engage in intra-Afghan peace negotiations to permanently end decades of hostilities in the country.