May 6th, 2012
01:39 PM ET
9 years ago

Feinstein, Rogers agree the Taliban is stronger

(CNN) - The heads of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Sunday the Taliban was gaining ground, just days after President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan and touted the progress made in the war on terror.

“I think we'd both say that what we found is that the Taliban is stronger,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on CNN’s “State of the Union,” while sitting with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan.

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Discussing her recent trip to Afghanistan, Feinstein pointed to increased attacks and the geographical spread of the Taliban’s influence. She also highlighted madrassas in Pakistan that “are fueling a new generation of fighters.”

“[Afghan President Hamid] Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I'm not so sure. The Taliban has a shadow system of governors in many provinces. They've gone up north. They've gone to the east. Attacks are up,” she told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Rogers, agreeing with her on the Taliban’s impact, added other reasons for what he assessed as the group’s increasing strength.

“This is a huge problem. And what we have found is maybe the policies, the announced date of withdrawal, the negotiations with the Taliban, have worked against what our endgame is here,” Rogers said.

He added: “And we ought to have a hard discussion about saying, listen, war is when one side wins and one side loses.”

Their comments came just days after Obama spoke of a slowing force within the Taliban.

“Over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban's momentum,” Obama said. “We've built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated al Qaeda's leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders.”

The president added the administration was in “direct discussion” with the Taliban, saying the group can be a part of the country’s future if “they break with al Qaeda, renounce violence, and abide by Afghan laws.”

“Many members of the Taliban - from foot soldiers to leaders - have indicated an interest in reconciliation. A path to peace is now set before them,” he said. “Those who refuse to walk it will face strong Afghan security forces, backed by the United States and our allies.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The Taliban is finding a home with the GOP here in America as well.

    May 6, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens needs to take his foreign built bus to Afghanistan. I think when the Taliban hears about Mittens personhood stance and his willingness to end funding for planned parenthood, he could become elected president of Afghanistan.

    May 6, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    I guess the Taliban are stronger - they were armed by the Bush administration when they were fighting Russians.

    May 6, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Dean

    “Over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban's momentum,” Obama said. “We've built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated al Qaeda's leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders.”

    Seems as though Obama's own party members don't agree with him.

    May 6, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Well, DUH! History has shown that NO president of this country or any other country besides Afghanistan is ever going to "win" there. Get over it, and get over yourselves. You don't get to remake the world in your image nor do you have that power.

    May 6, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. ted

    Sorry, but I don't care. I think the world needs to take on the Taliban, not just the US. I am tired of my tax dollars being spent in countries that hate us. Just wait – the Republicans led by that delusional lunatic Romney will be bristling and criticizing Obama for not surging our military and telling him to stop withdrawals of soldiers so we can continue to fight these Taliban wackjobs. Other countries in the world need to care and engage, not just the US. Bring our brave troops home. stop wasting their blood and lives in Afghanistan.

    May 6, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Maybe the Taliban is better to have than the GOP in this country or is the real Taliban the GOP.

    May 6, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Larry L

    When Bush pulled out of Afghanistan to send our troops to fight "daddy's war" he allowed the Taliban to build their organization with impunity. Left to fend for themselves, politicians and tribal leaders in Afghanistan created relationships with the Taliban which still remain. With nukes in Pakista and India, we're caught trying to prevent implosion of the region. It's a mistake to think of Afghanistan as a nation when it's simply a patchwork of tribal regions and criminal organizations. This is a very, very tough military and diplomatic problem to manage and one haunting question returns from the Viet Nam era... "Is it fair to ask a Soldier to be the last American to die in Afghanistan?".

    May 6, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. reader10

    Is it not Obama that wants to talk (surrender) to the Taliban?

    May 6, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. R1983

    We seniors here in my retirement community was talking and saying that if Romney win in November we probably will be in
    two more WARS this time next year. The GOP's is warmonger, I 'm sure none of Romney five kids will be fighting.
    Watch out Iran and North Korea.

    May 6, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Rick CT

    Wow. Feinstein calling Obama a liar.

    May 6, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |