U.S. Intel Agencies’ Kabul Collapse Forecasts Were All Over the Place
A review of classified intelligence information has shown that four agencies were wildly off the mark in estimating how quickly Kabul might fall after U.S. withdrawal, according to The Wall Street Journal. The CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the State Department’s intelligence bureau all predicted that the country’s government would be unlikely to survive without U.S. support. But in nearly two dozen previously unreported intel assessments, the groups disagreed on when the country would collapse.
A month after President Joe Biden announced a withdraw of U.S. troops, the CIA issued a May report that estimated a collapse by year’s end. Several weeks later, another document forecast “a complete Taliban takeover within two years.” The DIA, on the other hand, anticipated that the Taliban would focus on fortifying strongholds in rural areas, keeping them from the capital for at least a year. A senior administration official said the DIA had “bought into some of the myths” about the U.S.-trained Afghan military, leading them to take a rosier stance. The “mixed picture” provided by the agencies, according to the official, still acknowledged that Afghanistan’s situation was worsening. But “they’re not oracles,” he said.