Franken 'cautiously optimistic' about Afghanistan

Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken tours Afghanistan. He says he "cautiously optimistic" about the situation there and Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops.
American Embassy: Kabul

DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken is offering cautious support of President Obama's plan to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.

Franken said the plan isn't the best option, but he'll vote to fund President Obama's plan, which transfers security to Afghan troops and starts to bring U.S. troops home by July of 2011.

Franken and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrapped up a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday.

Franken said while he doesn't like the idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan, after watching U.S. and Afghan troops train work together he's "cautiously optimistic" the counter-insurgency effort is making progress.

"Part of it was just a feeling of a swing in the momentum and then personally seeing the plan in action," Franken said. "I think that the President's plan is probably the best of a series of options that weren't so great, but I will support him in this."

Franken said he thinks the president's plan to start bringing U.S. troops home by July of 2011 has encouraged Afghans to start taking over security of their country.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.