Congressional intelligence leaders say Taliban is stronger

"President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I am not so sure,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I am not so sure,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Despite a years-long war and concerted efforts to bring down the Taliban, congressional intelligence leaders agree that the organization is stronger now.

“President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I am not so sure,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on CNN’s State of the Union.

Feinstein’s words come in stark contrast to those of President Obama last week. Speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan, the president lauded U.S. accomplishments in Afghanistan and said that “we broke the Taliban’s momentum.” Feinstein said she and her counterpart in the House, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, felt differently.

“I think we'd both say that what we've found is the Taliban is stronger,” she said.

Feinstein and Rogers recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where they met with senior military officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the U.S. mission there in the face of increasing incidents of misconduct by U.S. troops and backlash by Afghanis. Feinstein said that recent incidents – including, most recently, the killing of a NATO soldier by a man in an Afghan uniform – had hurt the U.S. mission.

“I think there is damage, there’s no question about that. There's damage to our integrity, there's damage to the military, and there's damage to our mission,” she said.

She also said, however, that the Afghan leadership made it clear that they want continued U.S. involvement.

Rogers, however, said that while U.S. policies in the past may have hurt the effort there, he saw no option other than defeating the Taliban, adding that perhaps the U.S. should work more closely with Pakistan to root out safe havens for terrorist groups in that state.

“Maybe the policies or the announced date of withdrawal, the negotiations with the Taliban, have worked against what our end game is here,” he said. “If we don’t get to that calculation, for a strategic defeat of the Taliban, you're not going to get to the place where you can rest assured you can come home and a safe haven does not reestablish itself.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.