Larry Johnson, a former CIA/State Dept. analyst, makes troubling observations at the Counterterrorism Blog about U.S. intelligence issues following the Taliban’s downing of a Chinook helicopter in the mountains of Afghanistan:
- “The ability of the Taliban to communicate with the outside world about activities in a remote area of Afghanistan is equal to if not better than [the U.S.]. War is not simply engagements on the ground, it also involves information flow. The Taliban are showing a very sophisticated capability in this regard.”
- “More troubling is the possibility that the Taliban forces knew in advance that US forces were coming into the area and were in a position to ambush our people. That is a counterintelligence problem pointing to possible penetrations of US operational plans.”
- “[I]t is clear that Islamic extremists along the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan are stepping up their infiltration of Afghanistan … to derail elections there. This is a war the United States cannot fight alone … our erstwhile Pakistani allies are not doing their part to stem the tide of Islamic militants entering Afghanistan and to locate and destroy the remnants of Bin Laden’s forces. …”
It was a tragic loss of exceptional personnel needed in an emergency: “We now know from US sources that the helicopter’s passengers included members of a Quick Reaction Force who were responding to calls for assistance by US troops on the ground who were fighting Islamic militants,” Johnson notes.