Two decades, $778 billion dollars, more than 2,300 American soldiers and 47,000 Afghan civilian dead . . . and Afghanistan is such a mess that President Joe Biden broke with his predecessors’ pursuit of an elusive victory and ordered US troops home.
What went wrong?
That’s the question Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock has been asking for more than a decade — and the paper had to sue the government for vital documents to answer it.
Now, after conducting 1,000 interviews and reading tens of thousands of pages of reports, emails and messages, he’s telling the story of strategic bungling, distorted statistics, a nation-building project doomed to failure and the victory of drugs and corruption in the longest war in American history.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack that provoked the US invasion, Whitlock joins us to discuss his reportorial triumph, The Afghanistan Papers, the Pentagon Papers for a new generation.
An investigative reporter for The Washington Post, Craig Whitlock has covered the global war on terrorism since 2001. He is winner of the George Polk Award for Military Reporting, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting.
In conversation with Carlos Lozada, Pulitzer Prize–winning nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post.