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The war in Afghanistan is a pointless farce. End it.

The war in Afghanistan is a pointless farce. End it.

The war in Afghanistan has been a doomed waste of life, money and time for most of the 18 years it has been going on.

While this has been known to growing numbers of Americans, recently published interviews with American officials involved in overseeing and waging the war make clear just how aimless the war has been all along.

For years, John Sopko from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has overseen the publication of damning reports on the war in Afghanistan.

Reports from SIGAR have variously documented the resurrection of the drug market in Afghanistan under American occupation, the deep roots of corruption in Afghanistan and the many human rights abuses, including child sexual abuse, by Afghan security groups receiving American funding in Afghanistan.

But in addition to routine audits of the war in Afghanistan, Sopko and his team conducted 600 interviews for a series of reports called “Lessons Learned.”

While several reports have been published under the series, and contain worthwhile information, the Washington Post successfully sued and received thousands of pages of notes and transcripts from the interviews that went into the project.

Though SIGAR has already long painted a troubling picture of the war in Afghanistan, the interview transcripts offer blunt insights from those closest to the action.

While a recent Pew Research Center poll of military veterans makes clear that even majorities of Afghan war veterans don’t believe the war has been worth the costs, that insight is one long shared by insiders, too.

“After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan,” said Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL who served as the National Security Council’s senior director for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Reflective of how doomed the effort has been, one currently unnamed official noted the futility White House pressure to portray the troop surge from 2009-11 as effective.

“It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the senior NSC official told interviewers in 2016. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.”

Meanwhile, reconstruction and anti-drug efforts were clearly seen as losing efforts. Ryan Crocker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, has said, “Our biggest single project, sadly and inadvertently, of course, may have been the development of mass corruption.”

“We stated that our goal is to establish a ‘flourishing market economy,’” said Douglas Lute, who served as the “war czar” under presidents Bush and Obama. “I thought we should have specified a flourishing drug trade — this is the only part of the market that’s working.”

Taken together, what emerges is an underscoring of what most Americans already know: that the war in Afghanistan hasn’t made sense for a long time, that it has mostly yielded disgraceful results and that insiders have long known how failed an effort the war has been.

It’s time for the war to end and for all American troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan as soon as possible.


Press Enterprise