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.


THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS A SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation 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.

The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.

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.

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.