US Intel Agencies See Afghan War Going Poorly

Military fears upcoming assessment could undercut their claims of progress

Hope springs eternal for Pentagon officials, with regards to any war the US is involved in. Everywhere and always they believe the war is going well and about to turn the corner, and over the past 17 years, that’s been the constant military stance on Afghanistan.

But the war is plainly going badly. With Trump Administration officials reporting they are heading toward a policy review, US intelligence officials are also increasingly frank with their own assessments on the war.

A number of intelligence officials are challenging the Pentagon’s insistence that things are fine, and the policy review is likely to include a new intelligence assessment for the administration. The military is scared to death of that assessment.

Trump has been inclined to be pessimistic about the Afghan War at any rate, what with the lack of visible progress on the ground. Intelligence officials will just underscore this view by echoing the endless array of metrics, which all point to the US losing ground in Afghanistan.

That has Pentagon officials doubling down on their own positivity, insisting that the possibility of peace talks proves things are heading in the right direction. They also say that 17 years into the war no one should’ve expected a big turnaround in just one year.

Yet the Pentagon is always predicting a turnaround just around the corner, and any outside assessment is liable to admit that’s as unrealistic now as it’s been for the past 17 years.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of