Alex Constantine - October 10, 2008
National Intelligence Estimate says the growing heroin trade in Afghanistan has discouraged progress
According to a classified U.S. intelligence report, it is unlikely that the Afghan government will be able to prevent the rise of the Taliban’s influence in the region, The New York Times reports. The report shows that the Afghan central government started to dissolve when government corruption emerged with President Hamid Karzai and escalating violence from militants in the borders of Pakistan.
The report is part of the nearly completed National Intelligence Estimate, which is scheduled to be completed after the general election in November and will be the most thorough assessment of the war in Afghanistan since 2001. The conclusions in the report represent the serious decision making of the Bush administration after 9/11. Moreover, the reports cite how the Afghan military has developed and lays out the discouraging impact of the growing heroin trade, which brings in about 50 percent of Afghanistan’s revenue.
For the past month, the Bush administration has tried to re-initiate and review its military policy in Afghanistan and announced that it would deploy more troops by the beginning of next year, reports The Times. The situation in Afghanistan plays a big role in the upcoming presidential election, and both candidates feel that the war in Afghanistan has been overshadowed by the war in Iraq. Furthermore, the CIA has been chronicling the events in Afghanistan and report that there is widespread government corruption and that violence is running rampant.
Henry A. Crumpton, a CIA officer who stepped down as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official, told The Times the lack of leadership in the White House and in Europe has caused the case in Afghanistan to worsen. Crumpton was in charge of the CIA teams that entered Afghanistan after 9/11 but has not seen the draft report yet.
According to The New York Times, the National Intelligence Estimate is a formal document that represents the unanimous judgment of all 16 American intelligence agencies. The Bush administration has made some crucial findings of the war in Afghanistan, but it has all remained classified. This report is the first of assessments of how the Taliban was able to regain large territory.
Presidential candidates Obama and McCain both agree that more troops need to be sent to Afghanistan. The intelligence agencies are working to create new counterterrorism strategies, but have trouble deciding whether the tribal system is effective. The intelligence agencies are also working on drafting a report to assess the situation in Pakistan, which will help make sense of the violence in Afghanistan.