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Documents reveal misleading public statements on war in Afghanistan

Washington • Thousands of pages of documents detailing the war in Afghanistan released by The Washington Post on Monday paint a stark picture of missteps and failures — and those assessments were delivered by prominent U.S. officials, many of whom had publicly said the mission was succeeding.

The U.S. military achieved a quick but short-term victory over the Taliban and al-Qaida in early 2002, and the Pentagon’s focus then shifted toward Iraq. The Afghan conflict became a secondary effort, a hazy spectacle of nation building, with intermittent troop increases to conduct high-intensity counterinsurgency offensives — but, overall, with a small number of troops carrying out an unclear mission.