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US Lacks Intelligence to Successfully Target Taliban - Ex-Canadian Diplomat

© AFP 2023 / Noorullah ShirzadaFormer Taliban fighters look on as they stand alongside their weapons in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province on March 19, 2014
Former Taliban fighters look on as they stand alongside their weapons in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province on March 19, 2014 - Sputnik International
Former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong has shared his view of the new Afghanistan strategy announced by US President Donald Trump in August in an interview with Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The CIA and other US intelligence agencies are incapable of generating the proper intelligence needed to successfully carry out supposed precision strikes on Taliban (banned in Russia) militants in Afghanistan, former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong told Sputnik.

"‘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."

According to him, all 17 major US 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, the new strategy would generate a lot of tactical operations carried out with great effort and kill a large number of people, Armstrong predicted.

"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," he said. "Shades of Operation Phoenix in Vietnam."

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, Armstrong warned.

Tuesday, October 3, marked the second anniversary of the US strike on a hospital in northern Afghan city of Kunduz, which killed 42 civilians. - Sputnik International
US 'Bears No Responsibility' for Damage From Its Military Attack in Afghanistan
The only lasting result of the new strategy would be to more US 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, according to Armstrong.

The former diplomat believes that the looming inevitable failure of the new CIA strategy in Afghanistan will prove to be consistent with the past quarter century of humiliating and disastrous US intelligence failures.

"The US 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 US soil, the rise of IS [Daesh, banned in Russia], Russia's operations in Syria [and] North Korean nukes," he said.

Armstrong also questioned the US need to target the Taliban as it was a limited national movement that did not seek to conquer or terrorize any areas outside Afghanistan, unlike al-Qaeda and Daesh.

May 27, 2016 photo, members of a breakaway faction of the Taliban fighters walk during a gathering, in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan - Sputnik International
US Sees Place for 'Moderate' Taliban in Afghan Government - Tillerson
In August, US President Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy in which he pledged to continue US support for the Afghan government and military. According to the plan, the authority of the US troops to target terrorists in Afghanistan would be expanded, while additional 4,000 troops would be sent to the country.

Lately, US media reports suggested that the Trump administration has given 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, however, no official confirmation followed.

The same day, however, the US state secretary announced that Washington sees a place for "moderate" Taliban members in the Afghan government.

READ MORE: US Sees Place for 'Moderate' Taliban in Afghan Government — Tillerson

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