A VISUAL JOURNALISM MAGAZINE
Powered by Dalk and The Visual Agency
a visual journalism magazine
Powered by The Visual Agency

At war with the truth

December 11, 2019
The Washington Post /

The U.S. government tried to shield the identities of the vast majority of those interviewed for the project and conceal nearly all of their remarks. The Post won release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year legal battle.
More stories

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS Part 1: At war with the truth
PART 1
At war with the truth
U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it.

PART 2
Stranded without a strategy
Bush and Obama had polar-opposite plans to win the war. Both were destined to fail.

PART 3
Built to fail
Despite vows the U.S. wouldn’t get mired in “nation-building,” it has wasted billions doing just that

PART 4
Consumed by corruption
The U.S. flooded the country with money — then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled

PART 5
Unguarded nation
Afghan security forces, despite years of training, were dogged by incompetence and corruption

PART 6
Overwhelmed by opium
The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn

INTERVIEWS AND MEMOS
Explore the documents
Key insiders speak bluntly about the failures of the longest conflict in U.S. history

POST REPORTS
‘We didn’t know what the task was’
Hear candid interviews with former ambassador Ryan Crocker and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

THE FIGHT FOR THE DOCUMENTS
About the investigation
It took three years and two federal lawsuits for The Post to pry loose 2,000 pages of interview records

MORE STORIES A visual timeline of the war Interviewees respond Share your story about the war
In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.

With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.