Telling the Afghan story

book covers for United States of War and The Afghanistan Papers

By Lynne Perri

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Washington Post investigative reporter Craig Whitlock’s new book, “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War,” show there was never a consensus on how to win or end the conflict, despite years of top people in the military and diplomatic circles telling the public the U.S. had “turned the corner” and was making progress.

The award-winning Whitlock, who has reported from more than 60 countries, updates what he uncovered in a Post podcast. And next week, he will talk about the revelations with former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and former U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute (Ret.). Join the conversation on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at noon ET in a Washington Post event moderated by foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius. Registration is free.

The Washington Post originally published the exclusive investigation on Dec. 9, 2019. The Post also published 2,000 documents related to its findings. Meryl Kornfield, then interning for both IRW and the Post, contributed to the project, and worked on reactions to the investigation, including an article on veterans’ perspectives. Kornfield is now on the general assignment desk at the Post.

Next month, IRW will publish the latest news from David Vine, an American University anthropology professor and author, most recently of “The United States of War,” which will be released in paperback in September. 

Vine has reported with the Brown University’s Costs of War Project about the number of people displaced worldwide since 9/11 and the War on Terror.

The project’s latest report updates their 2020 calculation of the number of people displaced in the eight most violent wars the United States has waged since 2001, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. The team conservatively estimates that at least 38 million people have fled their homes — about 1 million more displaced people than a year earlier. 

IRW previously published an excerpt from Vine’s book.