The long-term Afghanistan war has claimed around 157,000 lives since the US-led military invasion in the country in late 2001, Washington Post reported on Monday.
WP released 2,000 pages of unpublished ‘confidential’ documents which are the result of assessments by government officials, diplomats, military officers and aid workers of the post-2001 war efforts in Afghanistan, many of which were critical of how the war was conducted—on every level—and how falsely it was reported up the chain of command and to the public.
The documents unveils that an estimated 43,074 Afghan civilians, 64,124 Afghan security force members and 42,100 Taliban fighters have died so far. Also, 7,295 foreigners–among them 3,814 US contractors, 1,145 coalition forces’ members and 2,300 American soldiers–have also lost lives.
A senior National Security Council official said the Obama administration and Pentagon pushed metrics that portrayed the 2009 decision to surge 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in an inaccurately positive light:
“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,” and “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.”
Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House official under Bush and Obama administration, asked in a Lessons Learned interview included in the collection:
“Why did we make the Taliban the enemy when we were attacked by al-Qaeda? Why did we want to defeat the Taliban?”
Eggers also said: “Collectively the system is incapable of taking a step back to question basic assumptions.”