The Afghanistan Papers are a set of internal documents from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request that document the US war in Afghanistan. The documents reveal that high-ranking officials were generally of the opinion that the war was unwinnable, but kept this hidden from the public. NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro said that the "new Pentagon Papers describe explicit and sustained efforts by the US government to deliberately mislead the public.”
Initial Washington Post reporting
The initial article derived from these papers, titled "At War With the Truth," was published by Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock on December 9, 2019. Shortly thereafter, numerous publications built on Whitlock's writing.
Reactions of public officials
Due to the nature of the content within the Afghanistan Papers, numerous public officials commented on their content in the days following Whitlock's initial article. The following offer a sampling from across the political spectrum:
Senator Rand Paul: "I think our young men and women that we send to war, our best and our brightest, they deserve better. They deserve an open airing of what is the mission. I've been saying for several years now that I can't meet a general anywhere who can tell me really what is the mission we're trying to accomplish in Afghanistan."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: "We all read today, the striking reporting by The Washington Post, suggesting that administration officials, potentially including military officials, have misled the American public about the war in Afghanistan. I am writing to request hearings to address these deeply concerning revelations about the Afghan war.”
Representative Tulsi Gabbard said she introduces legislation for a Congressional inquiry into "the lying and wasting of taxpayer dollars" and lives of US service members. She accused the military-industrial complex, contractors and consultancy companies of profiting from "a scam that ripped the US taxpayers off over a trillion dollars since 9/11 in Afghanistan alone." Gabbard reiterated her request to bring US troops home from Afghanistan.
Former Vice President Joe Biden distanced himself from Barack Obama's Afghan war policy, saying: "I’m the guy from the beginning who argued that it was a big, big mistake to surge forces to Afghanistan."
- Craig Whitlock (December 9, 2019). "Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
- Myers, Meghann (2019-12-09). "Senior enlisted leaders react to Afghanistan papers: 'I've never been lied to'". Military Times. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
- Palmer, Anna; Sherman, Jake. "POLITICO Playbook: America's longest war finally has its Pentagon Papers moment". POLITICO. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
- Beaumont, Peter (2019-12-09). "Afghanistan papers reveal US public were misled about unwinnable war". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
- Peter Beaumont (December 9, 2019). "US lies and deception spelled out in Afghanistan papers' shocking detail". The Guardian. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
- Ryan Pickrell (December 9, 2019). "Top US officials knew the Afghanistan war was unwinnable and 'lied' — even as costs rose to $1 trillion and 2,351 American troop's lives". Business Insider. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
- Craig Whitlock (December 9, 2019). "At War With the Truth". Washington Post. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- Victor Garcia (December 9, 2019). "Sen. Rand Paul reacts to bombshell Afghanistan report, says service members 'deserve better'". Fox News. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- Ellen Mitchell (December 9, 2019). "Gillibrand demands hearing following release of 'Afghanistan Papers'". The Hill. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- Enjeti, Saagar; Ball, Krystal (December 10, 2019). "Tulsi Gabbard reacts to Afghanistan report, calls out Pete's McKinsey work". The Hill – via YouTube.
- Bonn, Tess (December 10, 2019). "Gabbard calls for congressional inquiry over Afghanistan war report". The Hill.
- "Joe Biden reacts to the Afghanistan papers". PBS SoCal. December 19, 2019.