Assessing the Taliban victory

“The history of the intelligence community is replete with violations of the trust of the American people.” – James Clapper

In another time and place, I was the Director of Research and Russian (nee Soviet) Studies at USAF Intelligence under General James Clapper. One of my responsibilities at the time was to draft the USAF input to TOP SECRET strategic National Intelligence Estimates. The NIE, at the time, was considered to be the premier national analytical product, if not consensus, of the Intelligence Community in support of policymaking.

If the truth be told, few policymakers or politicians read NIEs anymore than congressmen read the legislation they pass into law. If voluminous national assessments are read at all, only the summary ever gets a glance. Annual revisions of recurring NIE’s are usually a drill, changing “happy” to “glad.”

Summations for an NIE come in the form of boilerplate entitled “Key Judgements.” Were I writing judgments for an NIE on Afghanistan today, it might read like what follows; with no expectation that such an assessment be read, no less influence policy.

Key Judgments on Afghanistan

After decades in Afghanistan, America has been defeated by Muslim fanatics equipped primarily with small arms and Toyotas.

Removing American troops and air support from Afghanistan before non-combatants, was a grave operational error that enabled the collapse of the Afghan Army, accelerated the Taliban advance, and created the panic and chaos now evident in Kabul.

The failure to destroy arms, equipment and facilities was another fail, indeed a gift to the Taliban and the global jihad.

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Afghanistan is likely, again, to become a haven for jihadists in South Asia.

No principal at the National Security Council, Department of State, or Pentagon will be fired or relieved. The 9/11 precedent abides: flag officers who enabled that fail were decorated, celebrated, and promoted.

The small wars fiction, the so-called “war on terror,” will abide; emphasizing the tactical sectarian ghettos of Islam; the Taliban, Hezb’allah, Hamas, al Qaeda, and ISIS instead of the strategic global threat: state-sponsored imperial Islam.

Sunni Arabs and Shite Persians will continue to finance and enable Islamist politics and the global jihad with impunity.

Drug money from urban America will continue to be a primary source of revenue for jihadists in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The irony of American addicts financing America’s Islamic enemies will continue to be lost on the State Department and the Pentagon.

Islamofascism will continue to be rationalized by America as unrepresentative of the larger Muslim demographic.

The United States and Europe will absorb unvetted Muslim refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

The Pentagon and the Intelligence Community will continue to cower behind fictions that confuse tactical trees with strategic forests.

The next likely target for the Taliban may be Pakistan, another potential strategic coup that would create yet another “Islamic emirate” with a nuclear weapons capability.

At this point, America is clearly losing the global war with Islamic religious fascism.

Things will get a lot worse before they get better.

The author writes about the politics of national security.

Photo credit: YouTube screengrab

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

If you experience technical problems, please write to