The U.S. goal of reinventing Afghanistan into a Western-style centralized democracy and a free-market economy from a tribal society that was unsuited for either by throwing billions of American-taxpayer dollars was doomed to fail, the Washington Post revealed Monday in a multi-series investigation.
U.S. military officials, under three presidents who led the United States during the most prolonged American foreign engagement in the United States history, allegedly lied about American military progress. The Taliban now controls or contests more territory than during any other time since the U.S. removed it from power.
The Post noted:
The documents [obtained by the Post] also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders, and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.
Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.
John Sopko, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a watchdog agency, was behind the interviews and documents that shed light on the U.S. government lying to the American people about Afghanistan.
The Post tries to assign equal blame for misleading the American public about the war in Afghanistan to Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. The sitting U.S. president’s predecessors, however, served for eight years, while Donald Trump has only served for about four and has been calling for an end to the conflict, trying to reach a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban.
Unlike his predecessors, the Trump administration conceded a military victory was impossible in Afghanistan after nearly decades of war.
The Obama administration threw more money into the Afghanistan problem, but it made no difference, the Post noted. There were more U.S. military casualties under Obama than during any other president since the war began.
After Obama ended the so-called combat mission at the end of 2014 despite no concessions from the Taliban, the U.S. President prohibited U.S. troops from firing on the terrorists until they were fired upon first, a rule of engagement changed under Trump.
By the beginning of 2015, the Taliban had become the most prolific terrorist group in the world, surpassing the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
The Post found:
A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.
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.
The interviews also highlight the U.S. government’s botched attempts to curtail runaway corruption, build a competent Afghan army and police force, and put a dent in Afghanistan’s thriving opium trade.
The U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan, but the costs are staggering.
The U.S. troops were seemingly deployed blindly without knowing what they were doing.
Under Obama, the Taliban gained control or contested more territory than during any other time since the U.S. removed it from power and is growing more opium, their top source of funding than ever before.
Claims that the U.S. has made progress in Afghanistan are a mirage that has cost American taxpayers nearly $1 trillion altogether, of which $133 billion was devoted to nation-building alone, including nearly $9 billion on counternarcotics, the latest quarterly report from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction noted.
Afghanistan used some of the reconstruction funds to build irrigation systems and buy fertilizer to grow more opium.
Terrorists, mainly the Taliban, have killed 2,299 American troops and maimed 20,590. They have also killed and injured a record number of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and civilians.
Since the war began, the U.S. has spent nearly $133 billion on nation-building alone, while all three American presidents who ruled over the war promised an end to reconstruction efforts, SIGAR notes.
Of the $133 billion, the U.S. devoted the vast majority ($83 billion) to security, including nearly $9 billion to combat the opium business ran by the Talian, the most prominent terrorist group in the country.
Afghanistan is unable to sustain the U.S.-built projects without continued American support, which the Taliban has shown interest in while demanding that the American forces leave as part of peace talks.
Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the American military attempted to launch an airstrike against the drug lab. Still, the narco-jihadis were able to build more in days and the program ended. SIGAR recently reported that the Afghans are trying out a similar program, but without targeting the farms.
The U.S. refuses to target the actual farms of opium, the main ingredient in heroin and other opiates, because they have differentiated between good opium farmers, those who need the crop to survive, and bad ones, those who fund the Taliban.
“Because the generals’ war strategy hinged on winning the support of the Afghan people, however, they were reluctant to take action that could alienate poppy farmers — a large chunk of the population — or U.S.-friendly warlords who profited from opium trafficking,” The Post reported Monday.
While the killing of American troops has dropped dramatically, the Taliban and, to a lesser extent, their Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) rivals continue to inflict a record number of civilian and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties— which includes police and military units.
Over Thanksgiving, U.S. President Donald Trump renewed stalled talks of reaching a peace deal with the Taliban, but there is still no talk of the Taliban renouncing their money-making business.
“Since 2008, on average, annual eradication efforts resulted in eradicating only 2% of the total yearly opium-poppy cultivation,” the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) recently reported.
Like the Taliban, the Communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) relied on cocaine production to fund their terrorist activities. After signing the 2016 peace deal, the FARC made Colombia the top producer of cocaine again, and now much more powerful are beginning to arm themselves. Perhaps, this is a warning of things to come in Afghanistan post– a potential peace deal.
Trump has vowed to leave behind a residual force to ensure the Taliban keeps its end of the bargain, mainly renounced its ties with al-Qaeda. Again, there is no talk of ending its lucrative heroin production that, after all, has proven deadlier than any weapon of mass destruction against the American infidels.