Why France knows the Afghanistan issue better than the U.S.


Afghanistan Update

May-Three months before Kabul fell to the Taliban-France Began to evacuate Afghans Work for embassies and other French organizations and their families.

Officials said that in the weeks before the Afghan army fell and Islamic radical groups seized power, 623 people flew to France. In addition to the 800 Afghans and relatives who had already worked in the French armed forces after Paris ended its military operations in Afghanistan in 2014, there were also these evacuations. France has repeatedly told its citizens to leave.

At that time, France’s decision aroused protests from non-governmental organizations and some French allies in Europe. They were concerned about this apparent abandonment of Afghanistan, and accused the French of being too pessimistic about the security impact of President Joe Biden’s announcement of the full withdrawal of the United States by September.

France’s vision of the impending collapse of Kabul is in stark contrast to the lack of preparation by the United States, and has sparked speculation that French spies know what the Americans don’t.

But senior officials and independent analysts in Paris say they share the same intelligence, and the difference lies in their assessments. When the French were able to take a more sober view and draw clear conclusions about the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal, the Americans were deceived by their long-term ties with the Afghan armed forces and their investment of more than $1 trillion in the country. The bulky nature of their own intelligence system.

A senior French official said: “I want to pay tribute to our analysts because we have the same information as others.” “It is true that the analysis is different. In a sense, once the Americans decide to leave, We imagined the worst case.”

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, head of the conflict resolution project at Columbia University in New York and a peacekeeping expert, said: “I think that when you stay away from daily events, you can sometimes be more objective. Americans are true to the Afghan army. know it well.”

According to Myriam Benraad, professor of international relations at Schiller International University, the biggest intelligence failure is not Underestimate the Taliban But Biden’s “wishful thinking” that relies on defending Afghan cities when US troops retreat overestimated the strength, cohesion, and loyalty of the Afghan army.

“I don’t believe in the’spectacular final attack’ launched by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” she said. “We completely distorted the view that the Afghan army controls the territory… when they fled to the Taliban.”

She said that the Afghan army “has not provided correct information about the Afghan army” and that the Americans “want to trust them after investing so much money… We have seen this in other places.”

A lesson from the United States’ past failures, whether in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, or elsewhere, is that more intelligence capabilities do not necessarily mean better intelligence. François Heisbourg, special adviser to the Strategic Research Foundation, stated that his anomalous law of America’s shortcomings is that “the greater the intelligence investment in the Middle East, the greater the failure.”

In terms of intelligence analysis, France is not always ahead and has been struggling to accept the failure of its endless war against Islamists in the Sahel region south of the Sahara — a conflict that is often posted Label “French Afghanistan” To the chagrin of President Emmanuel Macron’s advisers.

In Afghanistan, even relatively insightful French were attracted by the Taliban’s surprise attack in mid-August when it suddenly took over Kabul.

Like other countries such as Germany and India, France, relying on US military control of the city’s airport, rescued another 3,000 French citizens and the Fragile Afghans. When it came to the last attack on Kabul, “I don’t think they expected it,” Bin Lad said.


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