John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told Congress “when we talk about mendacity, when we talk about lying, it’s not just lying about a particular program. It’s lying by omissions. It turns out that everything that is bad news has been classified for the last few years.”
Sopko said US officials have “lied to the public during the 18-year Afghan war by exaggerating progress reports and inflating statistics to create a false appearance of success,” according to the Washington Post.
He told Congress “there’s an odor of mendacity throughout the Afghanistan issue . . . mendacity and hubris. The problem is there is a disincentive, really, to tell the truth. We have created an incentive to almost require people to lie.”
The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, SIGAR, said US officials falsely claimed major gains in Afghan life expectancy that were statistically impossible to achieve, the Washington Post said.
“US officials have lied in the past about the number of Afghan children enrolled in schools even though they knew the data was bad,” Sopko added.
Sopko was summoned to Congress to testify in response to a series of articles that revealed how US officials failed to tell the truth about the Afghan war, hiding evidence the 18-year Afghan war had become unwinnable.
2 US service members killed in Taliban ‘roadside blast’ in Afghanistan’s Kandahar A roadside explosion kills two United States’ forces in southern Afghanistan.
Since 2001 invasion, the US has spent more than $132 billion to modernize Afghanistan — more than it spent to rebuild Europe after World War II, the Post said.
Several US lawmakers expressed shock that the Afghan war strategy was fundamentally flawed.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) said “It’s a damning record. It underscores the lack of honest public conversation between the American people and their leaders about what we were doing in Afghanistan.”
The US invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks under the banner of the so-called “war on terror” thousands of kilometers away from its own borders.
The invasion deposed the Taliban, but the group has never ceased its operations across Afghanistan, and has vowed to keep up its attacks until the withdrawal of all US forces.
Washington began on-again-off-again peace negotiations with the Taliban under President Trump, however, the militant group abandoned the talks, citing lack of resolve on the part of Washington to end the military intervention.