by John Byrne
A secret US intelligence report which says the political and military situation in Afghanistan is "grim" will be withheld from the public until after the election, a new report says.
Intelligence officials are finishing up the National Intelligence Estimate on Aghanistan, according to ABC's Brian Ross, "but there are 'no plans to declassify' any of it before the election," an official said.
Keeping the intelligence report under wraps would likely help Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). McCain has focused on what he sees as the success of the Iraq "surge," in which the US added troops to lessen violence. Attention to problems in Afghanistan would put the spotlight on President Bush's failures, which might rub off on the Republican presidential nominee.
"According to people who have been briefed, the NIE will paint a 'grim' picture of the situation in Afghanistan, seven years after the US invaded in an effort to dismantle the al Qaeda network and its Taliban protectors," Ross writes....
This aligns with the opinions of commanders on the ground. According to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, the US military expects the Taliban to launch a "winter offensive," which would mean a spike in violence in an area that has, at least for the recent past, been more quiet.