Pawlenty Heads East, Again.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in Afghanistan on Thursday on an unannounced trip, according to the U.S. Embassy there, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.
Though embassy officials would not disclose the nature of the visit, this will be visit number two for the newly re-elected Minnesota governor, after his unannounced visit to Iraq earlier in the week.
Pawlenty said he planned the trip after about 2,600 Minnesota National Guard troops learned in January that they would be staying in Iraq for as long as 125 days. Their tour had been scheduled to end this month.
"They have realized they've got to finish the mission and they do it with excellence," Pawlenty said. "Their overall morale is good."
Pawlenty visited Iraq in 2004 and a year ago. He said the first trip came at a hopeful time, before internal conflicts consumed the country. The problems were hard to miss on the second visit, Pawlenty said. This time, he said the war isn't going as well as hoped but he was heartened by efforts to control parts of Baghdad.