Walz unsure he would support troop increaseWASHINGTON — After returning from Afghanistan, Rep. Tim Walz said Tuesday that he is still not sure if he could support an increase in troops to the region.
By: Associated Press, Worthington Daily Globe
WASHINGTON (AP) — After returning from Afghanistan, Rep. Tim Walz said Tuesday that he is still not sure if he could support an increase in troops to the region.
The Minnesota Democrat also said more progress is needed to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists.
Walz traveled to Afghanistan and several countries in Africa as a part of a congressional trip during Congress’ recess. He said he spoke with top NATO and U.S. commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal and sees evidence that the U.S. is changing its approach in Afghanistan.
Walz said he believes the approach “provides some potential” but that he’s still not sure he would support an increase in troop levels as some have proposed.
Walz, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, spoke on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
He says the U.S. needs to be very clear about what it is trying to do in Afghanistan.
“When the request comes for more troops I’ll scrutinize this very closely,” Walz said. “They’ve always felt this (operation) was grossly under resourced and ... I think many people think there’s a smart way of doing this.”
Walz, though, said he was “still assessing.”
Walz’s itinerary also included trips to Kenya, Mali, Djibouti and Morocco. He said much of the focus of that travel was on efforts to combat terrorism recruitment in Somalia.
He said the situation in Somalia was grave and that U.S. policy should be about preventing the eastern African country from becoming a new breeding ground for terrorists. He said he was troubled by recent reports of Somalis from Minnesota returning to the country to try and overthrow the weak central government.
“Somalia has all of the makings of another failed state and a breeding ground for terrorism,” Walz said. “... What I saw in Africa was a strategy of making sure our allies in the region ... have the stability to resist this unrest and that what’s happening in Somalia doesn’t undermine democratic principles in the region, especially in Kenya.”