Skip to comments.Congressional Intelligence Leaders Say Taliban Has Grown In Strength Since 2010 Troop Surge
Posted on 05/06/2012 9:18:48 PM PDT by Son House
The leaders of the congressional committees said Sunday they believed that the Taliban had grown stronger since President Barack Obama sent 33,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2010.
The pessimistic report by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., challenges Obama's own assessment last week in his visit to Kabul that the "tide had turned" and that "we broke the Taliban's momentum."
Feinstein and Rogers told CNN's "State of the Union" they aren't so sure. The two recently returned from a fact-finding trip to the region where they met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
"President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I'm not so sure," Feinstein said. "The Taliban has a shadow system of governors in many provinces."
When asked if the Taliban's capabilities have been degraded since Obama deployed the additional troops two years ago, Feinstein said: "I think we'd both say that what we've found is that the Taliban is stronger."
More than 1,800 U.S. troops have been killed in the decade-long war. About 88,000 service members remain deployed, down from a peak of more than 100,000 last year. More troops are expected to leave by the end of summer with all combat troops gone by the end of 2014.
Feinstein said she wishes she had the chance to meet with Pakistan's leaders to discuss the need for more help from the country to break up the Haqqani network. Congress has passed various restrictions on U.S. aid in Pakistan after Osama bin Laden was found hiding within its borders. A recent defense policy bill would withhold 60 percent of military aid if the defense secretary can't show the money will be effective in fighting the Taliban and ensuring Pakistan helps with efforts to counter roadside bombs.
Rogers said that he and Feinstein agree the first step should be for the U.S. to designate the Haqqani group a terrorist network and "take aggressive steps" to disrupt their operations. He said that group is responsible for nearly 500 U.S. deaths and continues to operate outposts along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Republicans have turned the war into a campaign issue, despite waning public support for the conflict, by criticizing Obama for setting an end date for U.S. combat operations.
"We ought to have a hard discussion about saying listen, war is when one side wins and one side loses," said Rogers. "And if we don't get to that calculation of strategic defeat of the Taliban, you're not going to get to a place where you can rest assured that you (U.S. troops) can come home and a safe haven does not reestablish itself."
More than 80% of the IEDs are homemade explosives using calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer produced in Pakistan, said Navy Capt. Douglas Borrebach, deputy director for resources and requirements at the Pentagons Joint IED Defeat Organization.
...Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., met with top civilian and military leaders in Pakistan in August to urge them to stop the flow of bomb-making materials into Afghanistan. They promised to help, but did not reveal a sense of urgency, Casey told USA TODAY after the trip.
The number of U.S. soldiers who have suffered amputations in Afghanistan has increased sharply over last year as more troops move into Taliban territory, according to Army data.
...The chief cause of the injuries are improvised explosive devices or IEDs that are planted in the ground or along roads, according to the International Security Assistance Force, which oversees military operations in Afghanistan.
The number of improvised explosive devices that were cleared or detonated rose to 16,554 from 15,225, an increase of 9%, according to data obtained by USA TODAY. In 2009, total IED events, as they are known, came to 9,304.
Insurgent reliance on IEDs as their No. 1 weapon meant a rise in concussions and severe wounds to U.S. servicemembers who have been operating on foot to root out Taliban fighters in remote areas.
The Taliban have increased in strength since the US began releasing captured taliban as “goodwill gestures” and since the Obama administration began negotiating with the Taliban. Shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Taliban recruitment being more successful when getting captured is not the end of the road for a prospective fighter, and when thugs like the Taliban are elevated to the status of national governments by negotiating with them as equals.
We also must consider the heroin production from Afghanistan opium fields that has not stopped. We need to burn those fields.
“Feinstein said: “I think we’d both say that what we’ve found is that the Taliban is stronger.””
Did she count them? Did Chairman Obama allow the surge numbers that Petraeus originally asked for? Is Sec of State doing ANYTHING?
And don’t forget all our equipment waiting to be shipped back with no way out of Landlocked Afghanistan.
Better to infest them with an opium weevil.