Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and governors from Vermont, Missouri, South Dakota and Massachusetts are in Iraq on Wednesday visiting troops in the region.
Pawlenty told reporters on a conference call that the troops on the ground tell him they've seen improvements in the country.
"It's very nuanced here with challenges in the future, but most of the measures are showing significant progress since 2007," Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty said dramatic and significant progress has been made since the U.S. sent more troops to the region as part of the so-called surge. He said there's a positive attitude among the troops serving in the country.
"There's much uncertainty that remains, and much work needs to be done," Pawlenty said. "But good progress has been made since 2007 on a whole variety of measures, with more challenges ahead. There's a hopeful sense here and a stable sense here than in some of my previous trips."
Pawlenty left for Iraq on Tuesday morning and has kept most of the details of the trip private for security reasons. He wouldn't disclose other portions of his travel schedule, and won't say when he'll be back in Minnesota.
This is Pawlenty's fifth trip to Iraq since 2004. He last visited the region in July of 2009.