US Reports Paint ‘Bleak’ Pictures in Afghanistan and Pakistan

National Intelligence Estimates Will Be Separate From Laudatory War Review

by Jason Ditz, December 10, 2010

Though the documents have not been made public yet, those familiar with the new National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which were presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, say they paint a bleak picture of the situation in both nations.

The new report on Afghanistan notes that NATO seems to be able to control only a handful of “inkspots” across the nation in which they have an overwhelming number of troops, but that the country is by and large uner Taliban control.

The report on Pakistan claims that the Afghan War can only be won if the Pakistani military is able to completely secure all the tribal areas and eliminate all terrorists in those regions, and accuses Pakistan’s government of being unwilling to do that. It is unclear if the document questions whether or not Pakistan’s government is even theoretically able to dominate those regions, which have long been only nominally under their control.

At the same time, these reports are totally distinct from the upcoming “review” of the Afghan War, which officials have said will be almost uniformly positive and claim that the current strategy is going so well one dare not consider revisions.

People may wonder how these two clearly conflicting messages can both emerge at the same time, but must remember that the National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) are classified data, while the other review is going to be the posterchild for a push to continue the war.

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