Taliban's takeover of Kabul sooner than expected: Danish intelligence

2021-08-26 08:19:48Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) has publicly acknowledged it underestimated the Taliban's ability to take over Kabul despite "continuous assessments," according to an FE press release on Wednesday.

"It was not a surprise that Kabul fell, but we did not consider the speed at which it happened to be probable. We made our assessments on the intelligence basis ... but it has turned out that our assessment was simply too optimistic," said Svend Larsen, acting head of the FE.

Until Aug. 9, the FE could confidently brief Danish parliamentary parties that Kabul was "less likely to fall before the end of the year." However, by Aug. 15, Taliban fighters had celebrated the capture of Kabul as President Ashraf Ghani was forced to flee the country.

"There have been particular challenges to the situation in Afghanistan because access to information has been weakened as a result of the coalition's withdrawal. However, these conditions do not change the fact that we naturally have to learn from the process," said Larsen.

According to authorities, Denmark has already evacuated about 850 people from Afghanistan since the takeover by the Taliban. Of that number, more than 700 were evacuated to Denmark, while the rest were taken to countries being helped by Denmark during the evacuation, such as Iceland and Sweden.

Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen acknowledged that Denmark might not get everyone out before the Aug. 31 deadline set by Western powers to cease evacuations.

"The situation is escalating. It is becoming more dangerous to operate in the area and when our Armed Forces inform us in the government that there are now fewer opportunities for airlifts because of security limitations, we of course listen," said Bramsen.

Also on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the international community had underestimated the pace with which the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan.

"We all quite obviously underestimated the pace of this development," Merkel told members of parliament, adding that solutions had to be found for the time after evacuations at the end of August. 

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