Pentagon: Intelligence Estimate Won’t Impact Afghan War Plans

Afghans Dispute NIE, But Pentagon Will Just Ignore It

The best intelligence available goes into America’s National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and their findings are sent to policy makers, meant to be the information upon which they base decisions.

Unless you’re the Pentagon. Fresh off the latest Afghanistan NIE projecting that the Taliban’s power will continue to grow in Afghanistan through 2017, the Pentagon has insisted that they won’t allow the NIE to affect any of their war planning. Because 12+ years of stumbling blindly through the Afghan hills has been working fine by their reckoning.

The report is a particular bummer for the Pentagon, which is constantly issuing its own public estimates insisting Afghanistan is going just fine, and claiming only ending the occupation would give the Taliban a boost. The NIE, by contrast, assumes the continued occupation and points out that years 13-15 of the war won’t be where everything magically turns around.

The Afghan government is rejecting the NIE
as well, seeing it as a test balloon before the US starts making deals to hand over territory to the Taliban as part of an eventual settlement.

But the Afghan rejection assumes the NIE is untrue. The Pentagon, by contrast, isn’t even attempting to refute the NIE, and is rather determined to just pretend it doesn’t exist.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of