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The Voices of the Afghanistan Papers

Author: Isaac Chotiner

Affiliation: The New Yorker

Organization/Publisher: The New Yorker

Date/Place: Dec.18, 2019/USA

Type of Literature: Q&A Interview Series

Word Count: 2,670 


Keywords: SIGAR; Pentagon papers; US invasion; Afghanistan.


In this Q&A Interview series, writer Isaac Chotiner highlights the failure of the post 9/11 US invasion in Afghanistan through his interview with the Washington Post’s Investigative reporter Craig Whitlock, who has written an extensive series on the Afghanistan War after the Post filed two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to obtain hundreds of interviews otherwise kept secret. He starts with the findings of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), such as reestablishment of opium business, concerns about training Afghan forces, and wasted money on reconstruction efforts to emphasize how policymakers and military leaders failed. Whitlock discusses details and similarities between the SIGAR interviews and the Pentagon Papers, and pinpoints how terribly the war was going on the ground yet how the US Defense Department’s systematic approach was to distort statistics and metrics to always report “they are winning.” Whitlock considers Afghanistan as an even bigger quagmire for the US than Vietnam in terms of how long the war has lasted, extending now to its third US President. He believes that the only option left to end the war is peace negotiations with the Taliban. 

By: Abdullah Jurat, CIGA Research Associate



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