The fall of Kabul | By Shazia Cheema, Prague

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The fall of Kabul


THERE is a saying that success has many heirs while failure has none. So the situation is similar in Washington nowadays. The Fall of Kabul is an orphan and is trying to find someone to adopt it.

Professionals working in the world of intelligence known as Intl believe the Fall of Kabul is one of the biggest intelligence failures of US/NATO allied forces.

Not a single intelligence agency from NATO members predicted so abrupt and smooth rise of Taliban after they Bagram Airfield at midnight.

Why is only the CIA under fire for intelligence failure? This question is painful for former and sitting officials of the US spymaster.

Douglas London who retired from the CIA in 2019 after 34 years as a Senior Operations Officer, Chief of Station and CIA’s Counterterrorism Chief for South and Southwest Asia in his latest article titled “Afghanistan, Not An Intelligence Failure — Something Much Worse” claimed that failure in Afghanistan was not due to intelligence failure rather it was a failure of political will to continue Afghan war and it was a failure due to stubbornness of Afghan leaders.

Admiral (R) Mike Mullen, who served the United State under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, called US policy in Afghanistan “deeply flawed”.

Mullen who had been the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 2007 till September 2011 in his interview with Fred Kaplan blamed the civil leadership of the United States for the Afghan fiasco.

He said that the US-flawed policy and corruption of the Ghani Government were some of the causes of what happened in Afghanistan.

The latest report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released on August 21 indicated the US Government did not understand the Afghan settings and failed to tailor a strategy accordingly.

SIGAR had been honest and vocal about step by step failure of the US in Afghanistan but people in power did not give attention to such reports that were against US policy and that indicated large-scale corruption in the “Afghan War Economy”.

SIGAR Report says the US government’s inability to get the right people into the right jobs at the right times was one of the most significant failures of the mission.

It adds the US personnel in Afghanistan were often unqualified and poorly trained, and those who were qualified were difficult to retain and policy advisors watched American TV shows to learn about policing, civil affairs teams were mass-produced via PowerPoint.

Afghan history testifies that switching sides for a better deal or to fight another day is a hallmark of Afghan history and same we saw when Afghanistan collapsed to Taliban province by province and provincial governors of the former Ghani Government had joined their Taliban brothers before Ghani fled to Tajikistan.

Many justifications in the near future will be added to the list of how Kabul has fallen but to me, it was a sheer gamble lost by the United States.

Carl Philipp Gottfried who was a Prussian Military General and military theorist says: “War is also interrupted, and thus made, even more, a gamble, by the superiority of defence over offense; imperfect knowledge of the situation; and the element of chance.”

When superiority of offense becomes a major consideration as in the Afghan war, the losing gamble is inevitable.

—The writer is a Prague-based Foreign Affairs analyst writing for national and international media outlets.

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