An executive summary from 2007, uncovered in the email of the CIA Director John Brennan, reveals a surprising lack of foresight in the US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"There is no United States Government (USG) comprehensive strategy being implemented in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (AF-PK) region," the document reads. "…The strategy needs to be regional in breadth, locally tailored and adhered to by all USG elements in-theater.
"Currently, none of these three principles are being followed well by USG elements in the region."
That lack of organization also extends beyond the US government and includes its cooperation with allies.
"…The current relationships among foreign entities operating in Afghanistan, including the United States and its departments and agencies, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the United Nations (UN), and a host of other nations, are not conductive to a unified execution of the USG effort," it reads.
"In short, the greatest contributor to the USG’s failure to achieve stability in the region thus far has been uncoordinated activity."
Written ahead of Barack Obama’s administration, the summary makes a number of recommendations for how the incoming president can improve America’s tactics, one of which is to tone down civilians casualties.
"The US Ambassador to Afghanistan stated that the United States must reduce the number of civilian casualties. We cannot retain the support of the Afghan population if they perceive us as victims of our efforts."
The document also details government waste in pursuing unnecessary infrastructure projects. One passage, in particular, describes the US Army’s construction of a road in Afghanistan.
"In one area we visited, we observed a multi-million dollar unfinished 'road to nowhere' cut into the side of a mountain. The project was constructed at considerable risk to the US engineers who took fire during its construction."
According to the report, that road was built with the hope that it would improve the local economy by helping local farmers get transport goods.
"The problem was that the locals were subsistence farmers and did not want or need a road – they wanted a well for clean drinking water. Because the Army built something the locals did not want, the locals did not protect it."
"Rather, they allowed the Taliban to come to the area and take shots at the engineers until the Army realized the project’s futility and stopped construction."
In conclusion, the report encourages the in-coming president to create a "media campaign" to convince the public of the necessity of a long-term campaign in the region.
"The American people need to be aware that a number of efforts they would like to see furthered entail a long-term commitment in the region."