Yet another catastrophic failure from our massive, lavishly funded 'Intelligence Community'

The devastating surrender of Afghanistan, a blot on American history that will play out for decades with unforeseeable strategic consequences, was preceded by catastrophically inept intelligence-gathering.  The U.S. spends far more money — a total of $84.1 billion in 2021 — than anyone else on the planet, yet it seems to have been caught by surprise by the extent of Taliban infiltration of the cities in Afghanistan, enabling them to take over quickly as the U.S. left.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Yaroslav Trofimov and Margherita Stancati note:

Undercover Taliban agents — often clean-shaven, dressed in jeans and sporting sunglasses — spent years infiltrating Afghan government ministries, universities, businesses and aid organizations.

Then, as U.S. forces were completing their withdrawal in August, these operatives stepped out of the shadows in Kabul and other big cities across Afghanistan, surprising their neighbors and colleagues. Pulling their weapons from hiding, they helped the Taliban rapidly seize control from the inside.

The pivotal role played by these clandestine cells is becoming apparent only now, three months after the U.S. pullout. At the time, Afghan cities fell one after another like dominoes with little resistance from the American-backed government's troops. Kabul collapsed in a matter of hours, with hardly a shot fired.

"We had agents in every organization and department," boasted Mawlawi Mohammad Salim Saad, a senior Taliban leader who directed suicide-bombing operations and assassinations inside the Afghan capital before its fall. "The units we had already present in Kabul took control of the strategic locations."

Emirate Islami (Taliban) Flag on the wall of U.S. Embassy near Massoud square beside ministry of health, Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 25, 2021 (photo credit: AhamdElhanCC BY-SA 4.0 license.

There is much more, but it is behind a paywall.

Maybe if the Intelligence Community spent less time trying to control our own politicians and determine our elections, they would do better at their legitimate tasks.

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