Biden Admin Ignored Intelligence Warnings of Swift Taliban Advance in Afghanistan, Report Says
03:48 GMT 16.08.2021 (Updated: 08:57 GMT 15.11.2022)
© AP Photo / Gulabuddin AmiriTaliban fighters poses for a photograph while raising their flag Taliban fighters raise their flag at the Ghazni provincial governor's house, in Ghazni, southeastern, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.
© AP Photo / Gulabuddin Amiri
According to reports, US President Joe Biden and his team were "stunned" on Sunday by how fast the Taliban advanced in Afghanistan after his move to begin the withdrawal of American troops. However, it may appear that the Taliban surge should not have been such a surprise for the administration.
"[US] leaders were told by the military it would take no time at all for the Taliban to take everything," an anonymous US intelligence official told ABC News. "No one listened."
Earlier, reports emerged citing intelligence assessments saying that the Afghan capital city could fall to the Taliban within 90 days, but not by the weekend. Some reported assessments suggested that the militants could "isolate" Kabul within 72 hours.
Some people, among them Representative Jackie Speier, branded the Taliban advance in Afghanistan "an intelligence failure", but some unnamed officials cited by ABC News assert that the claim is not true.
"The intelligence community assessment has always been accurate; they just disregarded it," a senior congressional official told ABC News.
According to the report, the Biden administration was also briefed on how members of the Pakistan intelligence service that helped create the Taliban were allegedly supporting the militants over the summer.
ABC News also cited an unnamed Pakistani intelligence official who did not deny his country's agencies' role in the Taliban's advance but also put the blame on the Afghan government's "meltdown" and American "miscalculations".
"I'm not saying that there has never been a relationship [with the Taliban] or that we have totally cut it off," the Pakistani official told ABC News on Saturday. "[...] The Taliban should take their success with a grain of salt. To take a city is one thing, but to hold it is a different ballgame."
After beginning the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and facing initial criticism, members of the Biden administration downplayed threats of the Taliban overrunning the country. Up until the recent days, Biden and his officials continued to voice their confidence in the Afghan government's forces, noting that it was mainly up to them to uphold the country.
Earlier, both Biden and State Secretary Antony Blinken asserted that the Taliban's immediate takeover of Afghanistan was "highly unlikely".
"I don't think it's going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday", Blinken said in June. "I wouldn't necessarily equate the departure of our forces in July, August, or by early September with some kind of immediate deterioration in the situation."
The Biden administration has met intense backlash over its actions in Afghanistan, including the previous US president, Donald Trump, who announced that the 46th president "resign in disgrace" over the situation.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries