From the Financial Times: Nato’s top intelligence officer in Afghanistan has issued a scathing critique of US military intelligence-gathering, warning a failure to understand local communities has deprived commanders of information needed to contain the Taliban.

Major General Michael Flynn, a veteran US intelligence officer, depicted commanders cocooned in bases surrounded by analysts with only a hazy grasp of the concerns of the people the west has vowed to protect.

“Moving up through levels of hierarchy is normally a journey into greater degrees of cluelessness,” wrote Maj-Gen Flynn and his co-authors in a report released on Tuesday. “US intelligence officers and analysts can do little but shrug in response to high-level decision-makers seeking the knowledge, analysis and information they need to wage a successful counterinsurgency.” He said analysts often felt their jobs were “more like fortune-telling than serious detective work…”

The report was commissioned by the Center for a New American Security, a US think-tank, before the latest incidents, and focuses on the US military and civilian analysts employed by the department of defence. (photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)