US Intel Report Not Optimistic About Afghan Peace in 2021
In a report on global threats issued Tuesday, US intelligence agencies are not optimistic about the prospects for a peaceful Afghanistan with or without the presence of US troops in the country.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_The report warned that the prospects for a peace deal between the Afghan government "will remain low" for the coming year.
They further warned that the Taliban believes it can successfully use force to shape the political reality on the ground.
"Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory," according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
Afghan security forces "remain tied down in defensive missions and have struggled to hold recaptured territory or reestablish a presence in areas abandoned in 2020," the report said.
"The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield," it added, cautioning that "the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support."
The report also mentioned that Iran publicly backs Afghan peace talks, but it is worried about a long-term US presence in Afghanistan. As a result, Iran is building ties with both the government in Kabul and the Taliban “so it can take advantage of any political outcome.”
“Iran's diverse military capabilities and its hybrid approach to warfare using both conventional and unconventional capabilities — will continue to pose a threat to US and allied interests in the region for the foreseeable future,” it said.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that “President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, people familiar with the plans said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that first drew the United States into its longest war.”
According to the report, Biden is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday.
“This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered,” the person familiar with the deliberations said. “If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest.”
In the meantime, Britain will withdraw nearly all its troops from Afghanistan following the US plan to withdraw its troops by Sept. 11, 2021, The Times reported on Tuesday.
Britain has drawn up plans to hand over control of the academy in Kabul where troops help to train Afghan soldiers to the government, the newspaper said.
There are about 750 British soldiers in Afghanistan who would struggle without US support because of the reliance on US bases and infrastructure, according to the Times.