Top US defence officials react over media reports of failure in Afghanistan war

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Top US defence officials react over media reports of failure in Afghanistan war

ISLAMABAD - Top US defence officials denied on Friday that the military had for years hidden from the public its lack of progress in the Afghan war.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley rejected allegations that the Pentagon and other government agencies had falsely reported progress while internally officials were deeply skeptical about the war.

"This has been very transparent. It's not like this war was hiding somewhere," Esper told reporters.

"Between all the folks looking at this conflict over the years, some type of insinuation that there's been this large-scale conspiracy is just, to me, ridiculous," he said.

"I know there's an assertion out there, of some sort of coordinated lie over the course of 18 years [...] I find that a mischaracterisation," added Milley.

"I know that I and many, many others gave assessments at the time based on facts that we knew at the time," he said.

"And those were honest assessments and they were never intended to deceive either the Congress or the American people." - APP/AFP