Criminal negligence. For the US military brass, woke imperatives came first.
“Did America just lose Afghanistan because of WhatsApp?,” by Preston Byrne, August 15, 2021:
…Conventionally, the United States did everything right; it installed a government, equipped and trained an army with four times the Taliban’s manpower, an air force, and top of the line American military materiel, and even now is apparently flying sorties against Taliban targets. Yet everywhere the Taliban is in control, and they did so, in many places, apparently without firing a shot.
So what the hell happened?…
I do know enough about the war to know that when the Taliban went toe to toe with American and NATO soldiers, the Taliban got its ass kicked basically every single time. No air force, no navy, and no artillery meant that whenever the Taliban revealed themselves on the battlefield they were guaranteed to be cut to pieces by various pieces of intimidating American hardware like A-10 Warthogs or 50-caliber rifles.
It appears the Taliban tried something different this time around. Open source reporting shows that rather than rocking up and going toe to toe with the Afghan national army, they appear to have simply called everyone in the entire country, instead, told them they were in control, and began assuming the functions of government as they went:
See this from 2018:
Or this from June:
Or this from today:
The fact that WhatsApp is so good that it beats any homegrown communications alternative is not a new phenomenon: this story in the New York Times in 2019 discussed the use of the app by both groups of belligerents in detail:
WhatsApp has unique benefits in the fight against the Taliban, who also rely on the app to update their superiors and check in with their fighters. The battle has become a war of small, quick tactical gains — a district here, a village there — and for this, the advantages of the app, they say, far outweigh the potential vulnerability.
Mainly, it’s quick and flexible. Urgent decisions on an imminent attack no longer must wait for ministers and commanders to get to a secure operation center. WhatsApp groups have become virtual operation centers, with ministers and commanders sending decisions from their bedroom, in between meetings or even from an airport lounge.
What I think has not been considered enough is the degree to which WhatsApp DMs were a strategic blind spot for the United States.
The Fog of War obviously makes it impossible to know what’s happening on the ground, right now, in Afghanistan, even for observers from the military and the D.C. political apparatus who do this for a living. Recalling, however, that the U.S.’ longtime strategy for crippling an opponent begins with decapitation strikes on radar and communications infrastructure, it is fairly obvious to anyone that as far as the Taliban were concerned, this never took place. The Taliban is setting up a government fairly expeditiously. Its propaganda circulates on Twitter in plain view.
The Taliban are thus free, and have been free for a number of years, to take their fight not to American soldiers (where they always lose) but directly to the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, all using free-to-use American internet infrastructure like Facebook and Twitter (where they have now won).
WhatsApp is an American product. It can be switched off by its parent, Facebook, Inc, at any time and for any reason. The fact that the Taliban were able to use it at all, quite apart from the fact that they continue to use it to coordinate their activities even now as American citizens’ lives are imperiled by the Taliban advance which is being coordinated on that app, suggests that U.S. military intelligence never bothered to monitor Taliban numbers and never bothered to ask Facebook to ban them.
They probably still haven’t even asked Facebook to do this, judging from the fact that the Taliban continues to use the app with impunity.
This might explain why Afghanistan collapsed as quickly as it did….
The Palmieri Report is a Pro-America News Outlet founded by Jacob Palmieri four years ago at the age of 19. Since its founding, it has gotten over 2M pages views and over 20k followers. The Palmieri Report is dedicated to giving people the truth so that they can form their own informed political opinions.