October 25, 2017

U.S. lacks needed quality intelligence to successfully target Taliban – Ex-Canadian Diplomat

The CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies are incapable of generating the proper intelligence needed to successfully carry out supposed precision strikes on Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Trump administration gave the CIA the go-ahead to expand its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors alongside Afghan forces to “hunt and kill” Taliban militants, U.S. media reported on Monday.

Former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong told Sputnik said: “precise,’ ‘targeted,’ ‘pinpoint,’ ‘experienced’ [are] all exciting words that look good on the prospectus but they all require accurate and detailed intelligence.

“And that is something that the ever-expanding US intelligence apparatus does not have very much of.”

Armstrong said all 17 major U.S. intelligence agencies had regularly failed to generate the kind of accurate, real-time intelligence to target terrorist leaders on the scale that the new strategy required.

In practice, he said, the new strategy would generate a lot of tactical operations carried out with great effort and kill a large number of people but U.S. forces would be manipulated continually by local intelligence sources to kill innocent people to settle local feuds and grudges.

“In short a lot of activity, a lot of killings, a lot of doors kicked in, a lot of personal grudges paid off by fooling the Americans into doing your dirty work and not much else.

“Shades of Operation Phoenix in Vietnam.”

Armstrong warned that the policy would therefore backfire because the more innocent people it killed, the more hatred it would generate against the United States and its allies, swelling popular support for the Taliban.

The only lasting result of the new strategy would be to more U.S. forces in Afghanistan for more years when they had already been operating twice as long as the Soviet Union’s eight year military involvement from 1979 to 1987, Armstrong noted.

“The programme will succeed in getting the USA to the milestone of being in Afghanistan twice as long as the USSR was,” he said.

He observed that the looming inevitable failure of the new CIA strategy in Afghanistan would prove to be consistent with the past quarter century of humiliating and disastrous U.S. intelligence failures.

“The U.S. intelligence establishment was surprised by Pearl Harbor, the Soviet atomic bomb, the invasion of South Korea, the fall of the Berlin Wall, 911, virtually every subsequent terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the rise of IS, Russia’s operations in Syria [and] North Korean nukes,” he said.

Armstrong also questioned the U.S. need to target the Taliban as it was a limited national movement that did not seek to conquer or terrorise any areas outside Afghanistan unlike al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist groups.

“Why go after the Taliban anyway?”

“It’s a purely Afghan phenomenon and it has been getting stronger because it embodies the long Afghan desire to be left alone by foreigners,” he said

In August, President Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy in which he pledged to continue U.S. support for the Afghan government and military.

Trump also said the authority of U.S. troops to target terrorists in Afghanistan would be expanded and he approved sending an additional 4,000 troops to the country.