What intelligence does Afghanistan have?

When the Washington Post Report This week, CIA Director William Burns sneaked into Afghanistan on Monday to meet with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradal, known as the highest-level face-to-face meeting between the Taliban and the Biden administration. WaPo cited an anonymous source, and the CIA did not immediately comment on the report. If the report is accurate, it does not answer any direct questions about why the President sent the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to such a meeting.

What we do know is that the unexpected progress of the Taliban, which dominated the headlines in the past week and a half, was initially blamed by many on intelligence failures. Early on, Cipher Brief expert and former CIA director John McLaughlin Tweet Then “the drumbeat of’intelligence failure’ is beginning. If people don’t really see/read the information, they should be careful about charging…”

So, what intelligence does the United States have that will lead to different results in Kabul and the whole country?

  • New York Times Report Last week, “a confidential assessment conducted by the U.S. spy agency during the summer painted a grim picture of the prospects for the Taliban to take over Afghanistan and warned that the Afghan army would collapse quickly, even though President Biden and his advisers publicly stated that this is unlikely to happen soon.” The newspaper quoted current and former U.S. government officials as saying, “By July, many intelligence reports became pessimistic, questioning whether the Afghan security forces will launch serious resistance and whether the government can hold its ground in the capital Kabul.”
  • August 15, Wall Street Journal Report Government officials stated that they knew “it is possible to surrender the Taliban completely and planned their withdrawal efforts accordingly.” But they also quoted a government official who stated that “it was not the failure of intelligence that the government made the decision, but the rapid withdrawal of the US troops that caused the situation to change.”

But private sector analysts are also paying attention.The following is the internal introduction of the content released by The Cipher Brief since January and the main content from Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willacy-Wilsey:

briefly: January 25, 2021

“The Afghans themselves are monitoring Washington’s news feeds with forensic details, and Sullivan’s statement will encourage them. Recently, there has been too much conversation in Kabul about when to leave and which route to take. Some wealthy Afghans already have them in Dubai. The money is gone, and the children are already studying in foreign universities. Some even have passports and property in the United States, the United Kingdom or Germany. For those unfortunate, the discussion is which way to go. The Uzbekistan border is favored because The visa only costs $30, and there are multiple routes to the West via Turkey or Russia, while routes via Iran or Pakistan are more restrictive or vulnerable to interference.”

briefly: March 11, 2021

“Salih would advise Ghani not to trust the Taliban or Pakistan’s promises. On the contrary, Ghani may decide to bluff with Washington. He may doubt whether Washington is really willing to give up Afghanistan 1Yingshi May face the risk of the Taliban winning quickly, thereby jeopardizing all the hard-won advances in areas such as women’s rights and counter-terrorism over the past 20 years. The specter of al-Qaeda’s re-establishment of camps in Afghanistan must have been too much for Biden and Brinken. “

“Even if there is no helicopter on the roof of the U.S. Embassy, ​​TV pictures of the Taliban entering Kabul and TV pictures of Afghan refugees fleeing them can also evoke memories of Saigon in 1975. The Taliban’s re-imposition of restrictions on women will lead to international condemnation. Later on in Afghanistan. The report of rebuilding the AQ training camp will bring back painful memories of the recent past. After all, spending a lot of blood and treasure in Afghanistan will be a catastrophic result.”

briefly: April 19, 2021

“As the Najibullah government survives the departure of the Soviet Union, the Afghan government may be able to remain in power for a few years. However, as high-level officials and politicians leave collectively, and hundreds of thousands of refugees through Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian Republic West fled, trust may suddenly burst. As the Taliban re-enter Kabul, we can see disturbing scenes of revenge and al-Qaeda members returning from their hideout on the border of Pakistani tribes. Only then People will re-examine this decision and realize that the deployment of Afghanistan has not been that onerous since 2014.”


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briefly: June 1, 2021

“According to my sources, the Taliban believe that they can occupy Kabul’within a few days’ after NATO withdraws. They believe that the Afghan army is’a mess and low morale.’ Although the Taliban will not disrupt the departing U.S. troops (unless they are attacked), But they are not willing to wait until September to continue their offensive against the Kabul government forces.”

“But we should not take too much comfort from Najibullah’s example. It is misleading to compare with today’s Afghanistan. The Najibullah government is able to reach and supply all major towns through military convoys. The Afghan army is deployed. To protect towns and road traffic. By contrast, in 2021, only the route between Kabul and Jalalabad is quite safe. Convoys cannot travel from Kabul to Kandahar, Kandahar to Herat, or Kabul to Mazarisa Reeve. The Afghan army is scattered in scattered regional centers across the country (usually surrounded by Taliban-controlled villages) and must be resupplied through the air. This is not a sustainable model.”

“In addition, some Afghan leaders, officials, and military officers today have received offers to relocate to the United States, Germany, and other places. As the security situation continues to deteriorate, the declining rate of departures may accelerate. In this case, The government may suddenly collapse.”

“For some people, this may be reminiscent of the fall of Saigon in 1975. The biggest losers are the remaining Afghans, especially women, who face an uncertain and anxious future. People think of the immigration crisis in Syria in the past decade.”

briefly: June 28, 2021

“A key indicator is that the Afghan security forces have begun to surrender to the Taliban. The process is quick and simple. Tribal elders are accustomed to sending harsh messages to the Afghan army, which often holds positions in Afghanistan. Regional CenterThe message is often; “Unbelievers are leaving Afghanistan. They have been defeated. Your leader is corrupt. You can surrender now, and we will protect you; otherwise you fight and we will kill you.” Recently, the Taliban seemed to honor A promise not to punish Afghan soldiers who surrendered. This newly discovered message of leniency may encourage other units to follow suit and lay down their weapons. In several provinces, including the north, the Taliban are strengthening their control of government-controlled cities. The Taliban will soon cut off food supplies and demand that they surrender, and may offer similar lenient treatment to the people. Now that the Taliban have seized armored vehicles and artillery, their ability to exert pressure on the city has increased. In Kabul, panic began to engulf the capital. People are desperately trying to sell family homes, but even if the listing price of the home is only one-tenth of its previous value, there are no buyers. Some families have traveled to Tajikistan and realized that the Taliban army had occupied several land border crossings with the Central Asian Republic in recent weeks. “

Read also Putin’s orchestrated Afghanistan game From Cipher Brief expert Robert Dannenberg


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