“State of the Taliban 2012,” the secret report commissioned by the U.S. and NATO, was never supposed to see the light of day. Unfortunately for those on the right who want to prolong the war in Afghanistan it was leaked to the press and the New York Times has published many of its observations and conclusions.

The report was based on information taken from 4,000 prisoners, Taliban and others, that have fallen into the hands of U.S. forces. To the surprise of the U.S., the prisoners are rather upbeat  about the progress of the war and think they are actually winning it. The report says that while the U.S. thinks it is winning and is about to start winding down its own participation, the interviews of the captives shows “a Taliban insurgency that is far from vanquished or demoralized.” The same issue of the Times reported the optimistic statement of Defense Secretary Panetta that the U.S. would set 2013, not 2014, as the date for ending U.S. combat in Afghanistan. This was later corrected by the ground commanders in Afghanistan – 2014 is the date – and we may still remain after that date for a long, long time.

They wish. 

The report says the prisoners think that in areas where the U.S. forces withdraw and turn over control to the Afghan Army, that army begins to cooperate with the Taliban- as do the local Afghan government officials. “Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban.” The report also says that while the Afghan government says it will carry on the war after the US withdraws “many of its personnel have secretly reached out to insurgents, seeking long-term options in the event of a possible Taliban victory.” Well of course, all options should be kept on the table. 

The report gives the impression that the war is lost, and that the government can’t deal with this reality. Lt. Col. Jimmie E. Cummings a U.S.-NATO spokesperson said, “This document aggregates the comments of Taliban detainees in a captive environment without considering the validity of or motivation behind their reflections. Any conclusions drawn from this would be questionable at best.” 

Wait a minute. We captured these people and interrogated them to get information about the enemy. We don’t like the information we get, so then say that due to a “captive environment,” the conclusions are “questionable.” But all interrogations of prisoners take place in a “captive environment” and are therefore “questionable.” So why bother? It appears that if the government likes the information it gets it’s credible, otherwise it’s “questionable.”

This is completely intellectually dishonest and we should not believe a word we are told by the military, unless we have independent third-person verification.  

What could be more comical than NATO spokespersons attempting to refute their own report once it became public. The State Department has also gotten into the act. The report mentions that the Taliban has strained relations with their “Pakistani patrons.” But Pakistan is supposed to be a U.S. “ally.” How foolish does the U.S. look when the money it lavishes on the Pakistanis is redirected to the Taliban and used to kill U.S. troops? How can you even dream of winning a war when you are all tied up in these contradictory circumstances? The State Department realizes how bad this looks and also played down the significance of the NATO report, saying it was “in no way designed to impact our ongoing efforts to be back on track with Pakistan.” Were we ever “on track” with Pakistan, or just being used by the Pakistanis after they realized we didn’t know what we were doing in Afghanistan? The U.S. government knows all this anyway and is still trying to sort out its relations with Pakistan in the hopes (probably vain hopes) that the Pakistanis will alter their behavior. 

For example, the Pakistani government, according to the report, “is thoroughly aware of Taliban activities and the whereabouts of all senior Taliban personnel.” And “there is a widespread assumption that Pakistan will never allow the Taliban the chance to become independent of ISI [the CIA/FBI of Pakistan – the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate] control.” Yes, lets get back on track: the U.S. is at “war” with the Taliban, the Taliban is controlled by Pakistan. Therefore… draw your own conclusions.

An important conclusion of the report, that NATO and the U.S. really don’t want people to know about, is the following: “Taliban commanders, along with rank and file members, increasingly believe that their control of Afghanistan is inevitable. Though the Taliban suffered severely in 2011, its strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact.” 

Where does the funding come from? It comes from us! Money from the U.S. to Pakistan goes to the Taliban. Trucks and weapons we give to the Afghan Army are sold off at bargain basement rates, or “donated,” to the Taliban by corrupt elements in the Karzai government. The Taliban’s strength is intact – we are withdrawing. Their motivation is intact – we just want to get out as soon as possible (sooner). Their tactical proficiency is intact; we are turning operations over to the Afghan Army, many of whose troops would rather shoot us than the Taliban. Is it really too hard to see how all this is going to end? Oh, I forgot to add that besides the ISI, the report says, the Afghan intelligence agency also supplies the Taliban with information about where American troops are located so that they can be attacked. 

So there you have it. We are spending $2 billion a week to support the war against the Taliban, and both our “ally” Pakistan and the Afghan government we set up and are “defending” are on the side of the Taliban. General Petraeus retired just in time. If he runs the CIA as well he did the war in Afghanistan, the decline of U.S. imperialism will be well underway.


Thomas Riggins
Thomas Riggins

Thomas Riggins has a background in philisophy, anthropology and archeology. He writes from New York, NY. Riggins was associate editor of Political Affairs magazine.