Posted by Joseph Fitsanakis
ANALYSES BY UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE agencies about the dynamics of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan became progressively grim over the summer, but did not provide precise timelines of the impending disaster, according to a new report. In his television address on Monday, US President Joe Biden admitted that his administration had rested on inaccurate estimates about the ability of the Taliban to overrun Afghan government defenses. Some —including many in the US intelligence community— have interpreted that statement to mean that the assessments given to the White House by the intelligence agencies were faulty or otherwise inaccurate.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the intelligence community continuously revised its assessments of the Afghan civil war in the past year. Earlier this year, the consensus among intelligence agencies was allegedly that the Afghan government could potentially remain in power for as long as two years after a US military withdrawal. But that consensus had been shattered by mid-summer, according to The Times. By July, intelligence reports, led by those produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), “had grown more pessimistic” and explicitly “laid out the growing risks to Kabul”, according to the paper. These reports also warned that the Afghan government, including its intelligence and military components, would not be able to withstand an assault on the capital and other major urban centers by the Taliban.
At the same time, however, these assessments were typically “not given a high confidence judgment” or a particularly high level of certainty by the agencies, according to the report. One source told the paper that “it was often hard to get [CIA] analysts to clearly predict how quickly [a Taliban victory] would occur”. Instead, its assessments “could often be interpreted in a number of ways, including concluding that Afghanistan could fall quickly or possibly over time”.
The Times report seems to indicate that the White House rested much of its decision-making on earlier assessments by the intelligence community, which projected a less radical pace of change in Afghanistan. For instance, one report from April of this year suggested that the Taliban were at least 18 months away from being able to conquer Kabul. The article also points out the possibility that different agencies may have had differing views on the speed with which the Taliban would conquer Afghanistan, with the CIA being on the more pessimistic end of the scale.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 18 August 2021 | Permalink
Opinion: The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was neither unexpected nor suddenAugust 17, 2021In “A specialized intelligence website written by experts, since 2008”
Afghans who spied for CIA say they fear retaliation once US forces withdrawJune 23, 2021In “A specialized intelligence website written by experts, since 2008”
Despite imminent US-Taliban deal, CIA plans to keep proxy units in AfghanistanAugust 9, 2019In “A specialized intelligence website written by experts, since 2008”Leave a Reply
We welcome informed comments and corrections. Comments attacking or deriding the author(s), instead of addressing the content of articles, will NOT be approved for publication.
Your email address will not be published.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email.
GET INTELNEWS HEADLINES VIA EMAIL
Enter your email to follow this blog.