Rep. Rogers: Obama's Afghan timetable politically motivated

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said on Sunday that President Obama’s timeline for pulling out troops from Afghanistan was politically motivated.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) — a former FBI agent — criticized Obama’s announcement this week that he intends to bring 33,000 troops back to the U.S. by September 2012, just one month before the general elections.

“I think it’s very hard to come to any other conclusion when the timeline is exactly in line with the 2012 election,” said Rogers in an interview on CNN’s "State of the Union."

“The timeline is just too darn close — I’m a former FBI guy — coincidences are one thing, but the fact that it lines up to have those troops out before the first debate of 2012 is concerning to me.”

Rogers said his main concern with drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan stemmed from the lack of concretized progress in the country, and cautioned the U.S. military about entering into negotiations with the Taliban.

“The conditions on the ground have not changed and now this notion that they’re going to negotiate with the Taliban sends a horrible message to the Afghans who have been cooperating with the United States,” said Rogers.

“They have never lived up to an agreement,” he said of the Taliban. “The Pakistanis tried it in ‘08, the Russians tried it while they were there, George Bush tried it in ‘05. It has never worked. To think this is going to work now, to justify a pullout, I am very concerned about the gains that we’ve made in Afghanistan.”

Instead, Rogers suggested the U.S. focus on getting low and mid-level insurgent fighters to defect.

“When the mid-level and senior level commanders start seeing that their troops are abandoning them, now we’re in a much better place to break their back,” said Rogers.