Rep. Mike Rogers: 'We Also Have to Worry About the Women of Afghanistan'

May 12, 2014 - 10:10 AM

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The United States "can" and "should" and "must" help find more than 200 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, "but we also have to worry about the women of Afghanistan," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

There are about 11 million women in Afghanistan, Rogers said: "We're getting ready to walk away from them."

He also noted that 12 million women in Syria are under seige. And he said the attacks on women and children are "going to continue to happen unless we have a robust, holistic approach to what is radicalism and extremism popping up all around the world."

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee one year ago, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan warned that Afghan women have the most to lose when U.S. combat forces pull out of Afghanistan at the end of the year.

“Progress in Afghanistan has been great and greatest for women,” David Sedney told the panel in April 2013. “Since 2001, Afghan women's health, education, political participation have all increased enormously.”

But, Sedney added, “If the Afghan security forces fail, then the progress of Afghan women will fail as well.”

Sedney said the women who are most at risk are those who have benefitted the most from progress: "They feel that they will be killed as a result of participating in the opportunities that we've helped bring them."

The Taliban began its spring offensive on Monday, with a wave of attacks across Afghanistan.

Fewer than 30,000 U.S. troops remain on the ground in Afghanistan, the lowest number since the 2001 invasion, the Associated Press reported. Last summer, Afghan security forces took full responsibility for their country's security, making this Taliban spring offensive an important gauge of how well they will face insurgent attacks once international forces are gone.

The Obama administration has negotiated a security agreement that would leave a small contingent of U.S. troops in Afghanistan when combat operations end, to conduct training and counter-terrorism missions. But the agreement will come into force only if the next Afghan president signs it -- something the current President Hamid Karzai has refused to do.