Speed Reads

intelligence failures?

Intelligence reports on Afghanistan withdrawal were reportedly all over the map

There seemingly wasn't much consistency when it came to the United States' intelligence reports about the outlook for Afghanistan ahead of the military withdrawal, The New York Times reports. That may have been a factor as to why the White House was unprepared for what unfolded amid the Taliban's rapid offensive over the past week.

Both the Trump and Biden adminsitrations reportedly received a mix of optimistic and pessimistic reports from the intelligence community (the pessimistic ones apparently becoming more common by July as the Taliban gained momentum), especially when it came to how prepared the Afghan security forces were to operate in a post-U.S. world. The C.I.A. was reportedly concerned about those capabilities for years, the Times writes, but the Defense Intelligence Agencies and other intelligence units within the Defense Department reportedly had a much rosier outlook, current and former officials said. 

Some of the more optimistic predictions saw the Afghan government holding off the Taliban for an entire year. But even as the reality began to set in over the summer, a Biden administration official told the Times that the White House were never given clear predictions of an imminent Taliban takeover. Read more at The New York Times.