US report casts doubt on Afghan Government’’s ability to check Taliban’’s rise

October 9th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Oct 9 (ANI): Afghanistan is in a “downward spiral” and there are serious doubts on the ability of the Afghan Government to stem the rise in the Taliban’’s influence there, according to a draft report by US intelligence agencies.
The report finds that the breakdown in central authority in Afghanistan has been accelerated by rampant corruption within the government of President Hamid Karzai and an increase in violence by militants who have launched increasingly sophisticated attacks from safe havens in Pakistan.
The report, a nearly completed version of a National Intelligence Estimate, is set to be finished after the November elections and will be the most comprehensive American assessment in years on the situation in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported.
Its conclusions represent a harsh verdict on decision-making in the Bush Administration, which in the months after the September 11, 2001, attacks made Afghanistan the central focus of a global campaign against terrorism.
Beyond the cross-border attacks launched by militants in neighboring Pakistan, the intelligence report asserts that many of Afghanistan’’s most vexing problems are of the country’’s own making, the officials said.
The report cites gains in the building of Afghanistan’’s national army, the officials said. But they said it also laid out in stark terms what it described as the destabilizing impact of the booming heroin trade, which by some estimates accounts for 50 percent of Afghanistan’’s economy.
The Bush administration has initiated a major review of its Afghanistan policy and has decided to send additional troops to the country.
The downward slide in the security situation in Afghanistan has also become an issue in the presidential campaign, along with questions about whether the White House emphasis in recent years on the war in Iraq has been misplaced.
Henry A. Crumpton, a career C.I.A. officer who last year stepped down as the State Department’’s top counterterrorism official, attributed some of Afghanistan’’s problems to a “lack of leadership” both at the White House and in European capitals where commitments to rebuild Afghanistan after 2001 have never been met. (ANI)

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