МОСКВА, 27 августа 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
In NATO countries, first of all, and in the United States, the process of comprehending the seizure of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban has begun. As “Foreign Affairs” writes in this regard, speaking on the eve of the transition of Kabul under the control of the Taliban, US President Joe Biden was confident that the Ghani regime has a chance to hold out, having the necessary military resources for this, although the CIA warned the White House about the inevitability of a change of power.
“The president did not believe that the Taliban would inevitably take control of the situation,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during an interview with ABC News. “He believed that the Afghan forces could fight. We have spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars on their training, on providing them with military equipment and on providing them with support from the US armed forces.”
At the same time, American intelligence assigned the Ghani regime a variety of terms – from one and a half to two years or to several months. According to “Foreign Affairs”, Biden had relevant information sheets on his desk, which guided him when voicing his “Afghan theses”. But in practice, what was happening in this country had nothing to do with the systematic planning for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
The real situation was more like the footage of the panicked evacuation of the American embassy from the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, in 1975. The government forces were trained for 20 years by American instructors, which outnumbered the militant detachments at the same time in terms of personnel, weapons and technical equipment, and left their positions in whole units, either deserting or even joining the ranks of the militants, into whose hands both army weapons and equipment and warehouses abandoned by US and NATO forces automatically passed.
The withdrawal of the Western military seriously undermined the logistics and the entire management system of the Afghan armed forces, and the Kabul regime has folded like an accordion. The plan to withdraw Western troops from Afghanistan on the basis of the Doha agreement with the Taliban on their renunciation of armed struggle and readiness to start a long-term peaceful political process turned out to be a utopia.
As for the CIA, according to former US National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster, “it suffered a grand catastrophe in Afghanistan, losing everything there as a result of serious miscalculations.” (However, we note in parentheses that there is another point of view, according to which the United States deliberately maintained the power of the Taliban – ed.)
But the fact remains that the US intelligence community has surprisingly demonstrated a fragmented understanding of the political reality of Afghanistan. And this is at time, when starting by the April revolution of 1978, all the coups, all the regime changes in this country were somehow connected with Western intelligence agencies.
The level of CIA involvement in Afghanistan since 2001 has been unprecedented. In 2013, the CIA received more than $2.5 billion — almost 5% of the entire US intelligence budget for covert operations in Afghanistan, including for its Afghan strike forces. But then an amazing thing happened: the CIA’s Afghan units ceased to be a valuable resource for the regular US armed forces.
Nevertheless, it can be assumed that after the final withdrawal of regular US troops from the country, the CIA will be able to maintain the operational potential of its Afghan units. Moreover, when the leaders of the Taliban at the Doha talks with the United States formally demanded a reduction in the CIA presence in Afghanistan, their demand was fulfilled.
But it’s not just about the CIA. German intelligence also miscalculated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Mas admitted that they underestimated the speed with which events were developing in Afghanistan, where power actually passed to the militants of the radical Islamic movement “Taliban”. The head of the German government called the development of events in Afghanistan “extremely bitter, dramatic and terrifying.” She admitted that Berlin had misjudged the development of the situation, believing that they had more time to find a way out.
The vaunted British intelligence, which traditionally has an extensive network of agents in Afghanistan, has also made no further progress. As one British expert put it in this regard, “there is no possibility for justification: all of us – the intelligence services, the international community – have misjudged the situation.”
In general, the actions of Western intelligence in Afghanistan require a thorough professional analysis. Not everything here is on the surface, there are many questions left.
Yes, on the one hand, the heads of the administration and the Pentagon, authoritative in the past, say that “the collapse of Kabul followed after a series of failures of the American intelligence community, which includes 17 separate US government agencies”, and that “its officers and agents overestimated the ability of the Afghan security forces to repel the Taliban militants.
On the other hand, there is information that is precisely these officers who were actively recruiting at different levels of the Taliban leadership,” preparing them for a new situation.”
There is also a lot of mystery in the fact that Kabul “unexpectedly” opened its gates to the militants, as in front of the most desired and long-awaited merchant. Moreover, Washington had information that the Taliban had received funds from somewhere and used them to bribe high-ranking Afghan military personnel in order for them to lay down their weapons and leave their positions at the “right moment”.
This information did not escape the attention of American intelligence, or it simply wasn’t put into action at the highest instance. Why? Is it indeed because of their belief that “in Afghanistan, the final part had already been written”?
By the way, it’s curious: in the photography that became famous throughout the world and in which the Taliban is posing inside the presidential palace after the President of Afghanistan fled the country, the second person from the left in the foreground is a former bodyguard of Ghani. The East, indeed, is a very delicate matter.
Институт международных политических и экономических стратегий Русстрат