United States (US) officials in the Bush and Obama administrations believe the “treatment of Pakistan as a friend” in Washington’s trillion-dollar Afghanistan war was a “critical error” as Islamabad “played a double game”, The Washington Post has revealed in its “secret history” of the 18-year-long conflict.

The American newspaper on Monday published US government papers in an extensive report, ‘The Afghanistan Papers’. It contains confidential government papers containing around 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with US generals and diplomats who were key decision makers along with aid workers and Afghan officials playing a direct role in the conflict.

As per the report, US officials admit that despite receiving advanced weapons and billions of dollars in aid, “Pakistan never supported America and was playing a double game in the conflict as early as 2002”.


The Print quoted the report as claiming that Pakistan had joined the US in the war against terror, “but it also supported the Taliban and the al-Qaeda leadership in finding safe havens and logistics support on its soil and in Afghanistan”.

The documents obtained by the Post also revealed that senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the Afghan war throughout the 18-year campaign and they “kept making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false while hiding unmistakable evidence that the war had become unwinnable”.

Over the past 18 years, over 775,000 American troops have served in Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Over 2,300 US troops died in the conflict while 20,589 returned home wounded, according to the US Defense Department figures. At present, over 13,000 American troops are serving in Afghanistan whereas several thousand veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The George W Bush administration had invaded the country in 2001 to hunt down 9/11 perpetrator, al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, and destroy his terror organisation.

However, the war, continued by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, eventually became a prolonged conflict, with the US objectives changing over the years to include fighting the ultraconservative religious faction Taliban and installing a democratic Afghan government.

In the ‘Lessons Learned’ interviews, other US officials said the Bush administration compounded its first mistake by “treating Pakistan as a friend”.

This was because of former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf, who had allowed the Pentagon to use Pakistani airspace and US intelligence agency CIA to track al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistani territory.

“As a result, the Bush White House was slow to recognise that Pakistan was simultaneously giving covert support to the Taliban, according to the interviews,” the Post said in its report.