A U.S. general revises assessment of Afghan war
Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the top military intelligence official who only four months ago warned that “time is running out” in Afghanistan, offered a sharply different, upbeat picture of the war during an unheralded recent visit to a Kabul think tank.
“Peace in Afghanistan [is] so close,” Flynn reportedly said at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies, a pro-government think tank which conducts research on the war effort and the Taliban insurgency.
Flynn also recommended the power of positive thinking as a key solution to ending the war successfully, according the center's account, which received virtually no attention here.
“General Flynn described Afghanistan as a human body that required positive messages to stay healthy,” according to the center, which is headed by Hekmat Karzai, a relative of the Afghan president who has degrees from the University of Maryland and American University.
Flynn maintained the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force “had learned from its past mistakes and that it was now time to be proactive with a new message.”
“To do this effectively,” Flynn added, “Afghans must be that messenger.”
But at a recent international conference on Afghanistan, the general said, he was disappointed "that not a single Afghan perspective was present at the conference."
It was not clear what conference Flynn was citing. He could not be reached to verify his remarks.
In late December, Flynn offered a decidedly pessimistic prognosis on the war, warning that “the Afghan insurgency can sustain itself indefinitely.”
“Regional instability is rapidly increasing and getting worse,” he said in his report, "The State of the Insurgency: Trends, Intentions and Objectives.”
“Flynn’s presentation. … may be the gloomiest public assessment of the war yet,” Wired magazine’s Noah Shachtman wrote.
Days later Flynn released a blistering report on U.S. intelligence efforts in Afghanistan, writing that, "Our senior leaders -- the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, Congress, the President of the United States -- are not getting the right information to make decisions with ... The media is driving the issues.”
Our Post colleague Tom Ricks, writing at Foreign Policy.com, called it “one of the most informative documents I've ever read on contemporary intelligence issues. I think you should stop reading this blog and read it now!”
| April 14, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
Categories: Intelligence, Military
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