Tags: mike | rogers | taliban | obama | peace

Rep. Mike Rogers: Obama Negotiations With Taliban Not Good for America

Image: Rep. Mike Rogers: Obama  Negotiations With Taliban Not Good for America Afghan policemen run to the site of a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Kabul on May 24.

By Todd Beamon   |   Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 11:20 PM

Rep. Mike Rogers said on Tuesday that it was not a good idea for the United States to begin talks with the Taliban toward a negotiated peace in Afghanistan.

“There hasn’t been much consultation with Congress about reopening the office in Qatar and then recognizing them other than what we’ve read in the media, which is concerning enough,” Rogers, the Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Sean Hannity on Fox News.

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The White House said earlier Tuesday that talks with the Taliban would begin on Thursday in Doha, the Qatari capital, in hopes of reaching a negotiated peace settlement to end 12 years of bloody and expensive strife between American-led forces and the insurgents.

President Barack Obama said U.S. combat operations would not cease and — and his remarks came amid news reports that four U.S. troops were killed in an attack on Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

“This is an organization, the Taliban, that has closed over 500 children’s schools — we can’t have those kids getting educated — and by the way, the majority of those are girls’ schools,” Rogers told Hannity. “The same organization that poisoned girls, little girls, to prove the point that they didn’t believe that girls should get an education.”

Earlier this month, nearly 100 girls from two schools in northern Afghanistan were hospitalized after falling sick as a result of suspected gas poisoning by the Taliban.

Rogers said that he was further troubled that Obama wanted to begin talks without preconditions.

“It’s hard to understand why the president thinks that that is the right cause of action with no preconditions about what that negotiation should even look like,” he said. “It empowers all the wrong messages in Afghanistan.

“This could be a stain on our national character if we don’t get a handle on this early on.”

Any U.S. position in the talks would be weakened further because U.S.-led forces have begun pulling out of Afghanistan, Rogers said.

“When you tell them what you’re going to do, when you’re going to leave, you’ve absolutely empowered those who are seeking to do you harm,” he said, noting that the country provided a safe haven for the Taliban and al-Qaida as they planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“That’s what so concerning about what our policy is: It doesn’t seem to be connected with the reality on the ground,” Rogers said.

Turning his attention to Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rowhani, Rogers said: “This was not an election. It was a selection.”

He noted that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei selects the candidates who could run for office — “and I doubt he’s going to pick somebody to run for office that is adamantly opposed to his views.

“It fits the right narrative. It’s a great PR thing for Iran. They continue to develop nuclear weapons. Clearly, they’re on that path,” Rogers said.

“They’re committing all kinds of problems across the Middle East. They’re creating huge problems right now,” he added. “I can’t find a redeeming quality in this individual that would allow us to come to the conclusion that they aren’t bad actors creating lots of problems.”

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