Has the United States Intelligence Community Failed to Fulfill its Obligation?

Estimated read time 4 min read

Recently, the world was stunned by perturbing sights of frantic Afghans crowding the runway at the international airport of Kabul. In these scenes, the Afghans are portrayed as competing for their last opportunity to run away from a nation that is contemporarily infested by the Taliban. Even though the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) played some role, Afghanistan’s future still appeared grim after approximately two and a half decades of battle, with over 105,000 Afghans murdered, more than 6,500 lost American lives, and approximately $2.1 trillion used by the United States. This is mainly because most regional professionals assumed that the Taliban would eventually take over most sections of Afghanistan. True to these experts’ words, the Taliban has managed to take over Afghanistan in about 20 days. Based on this swift takeover, this piece of writing aims to discuss some of the key reasons why this takeover can be accredited to the serious negligence of responsibility by the United States Intelligence Community.

First, according to a recent report by CNBC, it is evident that there is a serious dereliction at the United States Intelligence Community since it undervalued the impact of the Taliban by assuming that they were harmless and less impactful. CNBC further stated that this undervaluation is majorly evident in a press briefing where Joe Biden stated that there would not be an occasion where people from Afghanistan will be seen being airlifted from the United States embassy. In other words, based on the analysis conducted by the United States Intelligence Community, Joe Biden was affirming that it was doubtful that the Taliban would take control of Afghanistan. Besides, to further back up Joe Biden’s statement, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies further issued a report in 2015 assuring that the United States was in control and nothing would go wrong. However, contrary to these statements and reports, the Taliban overpowered the Afghanistan army and took over the country’s rule. Therefore, this swift takeover implies that the United States intelligence is to blame since it underrated the impact of  the Taliban solely relying on the improper examination from the United States commander-in-chief.

Secondly, the United States Intelligence Community shamefully failed to fulfill its obligation of gathering and analyzing the intelligence required to carry out national security and foreign relations activities. In other words, since the United States Intelligence Community is mandated to offer objective, timely, relevant, and insightful intelligence to inform choices involving state security matters and occurrences, it ought to have constantly advised NATO on the performance of ANA (Afghanistan National Army). According to a recent submission by Financial Times Magazine, the U.S Intelligence Community did not stand its ground in producing precise reports about the Taliban. For instance, in one of their submissions, the Intelligence Community advised that it was proper for the government of the United States to withdraw its military from Kabul. Financial Magazine stated that, in advising the president, the intelligence service only relied on the fact that since the army had initially successfully kept away the Taliban attack in three main provincial capitals of Afghanistan, the country was safer even when left alone in the hands of its ANA.

Also, the United States Intelligence Community failed by making the Afghan forces more reliant on NATO support. Most of the Afghan soldiers were comprised of civilians. These civilians had little or no knowledge concerning battles and therefore majorly depended on NATO for help. Besides, because these individuals came from different backgrounds, they possessed diverse cultural beliefs. This lack of cultural understanding of hundreds of years if not thousands to their ways could not be changed over one generation to one that they could not comprehend. They therefore did not see value in the ways being imposed on them by the NATO people over a short period. In this regard, according to the Aljazeera report, this overdependence on NATO support caused the Afghan forces, mostly made up of civilians, to be weak compared to their counterpart Taliban soldiers, who seemed to be more determined to their cause.

In conclusion, the fact that the United States utilized approximately 20 years operating Afghanistan while the Taliban seized it in about 20 days shows the dereliction of responsibility of the U.S Intelligence Community. This is because the intelligence service failed to examine the Taliban’s impact appropriately. Besides, based on their previous victory, the service incorrectly misadvised the president to withdraw the U.S military. Also, the intelligence community failed by making the ANA more dependent on NATO to the extent that immediately NATO withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan, the Taliban took over.

Article by Evan Chua for Epistle News. All views expressed are the author’s personal.