The Afghanistan Papers are hundreds of interviews, notes and transcripts of interviews, that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan had conducted with key officials who played important roles in the war over 20 years. These were documents that were not made public, until The Washington Post had to sue the government to obtain them under the Freedom of Information Act. It took us three years to obtain these documents. But what they show is as you stated earlier. The public narrative was that the U.S. was always making progress. All these presidents said we were going to win the war, and yet, in private, these officials were extremely pessimistic. They said they didn’t have a campaign plan, they didn’t have a strategy, they didn’t understand Afghanistan and thought the war was unwinnable.
I was surprised that it happened so quickly. That said, I think it was pretty obvious that the Afghan government really didn’t have any popular support, or very little. It’s certainly been well documented that the Afghan security forces, the army and the paramilitary police, had real problems, that the U.S. government had tried — had spent more than $85 billion to train and equip this force, and yet it was barely functioning at the end.
— source democracynow.org | Aug 19, 2021