Rogers: Taliban 'stronger' than it was two years ago
May 4th, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Rogers: Taliban 'stronger' than it was two years ago

By Suzanne Kelly

Just two hours before President Barack Obama landed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, a congressional delegation was departing.

The delegation, made up of the top four intelligence members on the House and Senate intelligence committees, had spent several days flying around the country, under the radar, visiting with U.S. military and intelligence officers and, of course, a healthy dose of Afghan officials, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

It turns out that not everyone assesses the future threat of the Taliban in quite the same way.

Speaking to the nation Tuesday night, the president said the insurgency was on the decline.

"Over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban's momentum," he said.

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said that on the ground, military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan had a different view of the strength of the Taliban and its determination to be patient and wait out the American withdrawal.

"What struck me more coming out was the conclusion from folks on the intelligence side, and these are folks with lots and lots of experience with interrogations and they are dealing with Taliban as they're captured and brought through the programs, that they believe the Taliban is stronger today than it was even a couple of years ago," said U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan.

"They've adjusted, and their adjustment is: We just have to let people know we're there, and we have to wait till they leave," he said of the Taliban.

Rogers says he worries about the large swaths of Afghanistan that have been lost and may provide a haven for a Taliban that runs a strong recruitment campaign and is still aligned with al Qaeda.

He blames part of the Taliban's appeal, especially among youths, to corruption, explaining that the Taliban will come in and provide services that sometimes the government cannot. Long term, Rogers also worries about the effects of the military withdrawal on the U.S. effort to gather intelligence.

"They will have to reposition bases, and it wasn't really clear to me that ... when we're gone, this is where we have to be," said Rogers, who was back in Washington on Friday briefing a small group of reporters. "There will be whole areas of the country where we won't really have a presence. That concerned me a lot."

Rogers will be joined by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, this Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Bangash

    American leaders have always cheated the innocent American nation the way this contradiction is. On one side President say of an end to Taliban while Roger say it is harder then two years back. Same way American nation was told of WMD in Iraq but later it proved wrong however thousands were killed and their property destroyed beside what American lost in life and coin. Indeed it is great shameful that today Americans as a nation are victim of pentagon militarism in world politics for which they are paying in the shape of rising hate against USA in world.

    May 6, 2012 at 4:12 am | Reply
  2. jalek

    If they thought they were going to win over the populace as they did in post-war Japan or Germany, they failed from the start. Germany was not a friendly place until the people who'd been impoverished by the industrial destruction were put back to work and personally saw the improvements to their lives and that of their families. The resistance staged a general strike but the workers wanted to keep their new jobs rather than worry about politics, and that is considered the turning point.

    Tribalism, religion, culture.. most of these things are less relevant than the human drive to live in relative stability and watch their families grow up. If they don't see that for themselves, not promised, not sometime in the future, but right there, they will usually seek whoever is most likely to provide it in the shortest time. The simplest thing to do is let some authority seize power and stabilize through force, as long as they leave the individuals to watch their families grow up. This is why a free society is not the natural state and it's worth defending, but it cannot be imposed on people who do not seek it.

    May 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • Paktia Jack

      There's a minimum height requirement on this ride, son.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Reply
      • :)

        Interesting and valid points, not worthy of your pithy condescension.

        May 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  3. Bitchin Shootin Marine

    We need to fucking humiliate these motherfuckers! I want to piss and shit on any corpse I have dispatched to hell and recommend all my comrades do the same. PISS and SHIT ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    May 5, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
    • Trevor

      And I've got a E-5 and 7 and an O-4 and 5 sitting right next to me in the CAOC in Al Udeid, AB Qatar just rolling their eyes and collectively saying you're no Marine pal...and if you are you're just a young foolish one talking crap...they all apologized for the USMC if you actually were one.

      May 5, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
      • fan

        AMEN!!^^^

        May 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • catheywc

        No need to apologize for that marine, Young maby, inexperianced maby, but it sounds like he is stressed and tired of sitting in his current version of Ft. Apachie awaiting his death at the hands of those we are trying to help, all the while he is unable to do anything to prevent it. Frustraiteing at best, but certainly more admirable than sitting in your HQ in Qatar.I am shure you might feel real important at your video monitors and comm equiptment, but it can't hold a candle to the boots actually on the ground holding the fort while your haveing your coffee. Apologize for yourself, sounds like you need it more and your less the marine than he is.

        May 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
      • Trevor

        Catheywc- And have you served? If you haven't...then "NOTED"...you know EXACTLY what this "definition" means if you have served even a year the military.

        This doesn't have anything to do will feeling important "Cathey"...this has to do with have integrity and "self control" to not act out in a manner that is not in-line with USMC core values or any other service for that matter...which is what 99% of the folks serving in the AOR have been able to and continue to do.

        Yes, I'm not a Marine (15 years USAF active duty) but if you actually read my post, I got full clearance by the 4 Marines sitting next to me to say EXACTLY what I posted. These Marines have collectively 50+ years in service and 10 tours to Afghanistan and 5 to Iraq...probably more time in transit to and from the AOR than this obviously angry Marine has in service.

        If you would like for these Marines sitting here in the CAOC with me "having their coffee" to type you a response that would more than "school" you in your defense of this young Marine, I'm sure that I can arrange something...we'll be waiting.

        May 6, 2012 at 4:36 am |
      • :)

        Gee, folks.......you think he's having us on? C'mon guys, learn to recognize sarcasm when you see it.

        May 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
      • Trevor

        🙂 : Don't mean to necessarily counter with anything condescending, maybe some constructive "pointers". When you stick you chest out with a username "representing" yourself as ANYONE in the U.S. military, you have to have the situational awareness of the type of individuals that "troll" CNNs posts just looking for something to bash the U.S. military on. We don't need "sarcastic" remarks (if you think you have this individual's mindset all figured out) from our military servicemembers...especially when they're juvenile and irresponsible, giving these "trolls" more ammunition.

        May 7, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  4. INGLORIOUS

    We all know what is going to happen when we pull out>>>>>>>> All you have to do is go back in time history tells the true story.

    May 5, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply
  5. Hahahahahaha

    Stronger smelling that's for sure!!! Hahahahahahahaha

    May 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply

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