Exploring the Contrasting Narratives of the US Officials: An Analysis of the Afghanistan Papers


  • Muhammad Talha Khan Quaid-I-Azam University
  • Saira Aquil Quaid-I-Azam University


US, Narrative Theory, Afghanistan, SIGAR, War on Terror, Contrasting Narrative, The Afghanistan Papers


The abrupt withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan rendered a spectacle for the entire world which gave rise to a severe critique of the US policies and decisions. Throughout the war in Afghanistan, the US State Department painted a rosy picture of progress and achievements, creating a robust official narrative. However, there were other competing narratives that continued to shed light on the circumstances prevailing in Afghanistan. The Lessons Learned Program (LLP) of the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was tasked to identify the factors that contributed to a decline in the social, development, and security situation in Afghanistan. SIGAR carried out interviews of officials who served in Afghanistan to explore the shortcomings of the US efforts in Afghanistan. These interviews were initially classified but were later published by The Washington Post after a court ruled for their declassification under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A close inspection of these interviews reveals a narrative prevailing among the US officials who served in Afghanistan, which runs counter to the official US narrative.