August 1st, 2010
10:50 AM ET
13 years ago

Afghanistan war effort a 'mixed picture,' Dem says


"[W]e’re taking the fight to the Taliban right in the heart of the Taliban heartland," Sen. Carl Levin told CNN Sunday. (Photo Credit: CNN)

Washington (CNN) – The Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee emphasized Sunday that Afghans are beginning to take the lead in the fight against Taliban.

“What I see is a mixed picture with some signs of progress,” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Watch: Levin on Afghanistan

Levin told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that while a “negative picture” of the situation in Afghanistan is the one that predominates, “but there actually is some positive indicators too” including U.S. Special Forces “doing a very good job” at capturing Taliban leaders.

Levin added that the number of American and Afghan casualties has increased because “we’re taking the fight to the Taliban right in the heart of the Taliban heartland.”

In the long troubled Kandahar region of the country, Levin said that the U.S. was “gradually” removing Taliban control “but it is being done as we speak now with the Afghan troops taking the major lead and with more Afghan troops finally than American troops there.

“So this transition to Afghan control of their own destiny is gradually taking place,” he said.

Levin also spotlighted President Obama’s July 2011 target date for beginning to draw down the additional troops that have been sent to Afghanistan.

“That date is very visible now. The American people understand it. It’s critical that, that date was set to show that it isn’t a blank check. It’s not an open-ended commitment of American troops in the same numbers that we’re going to have there. We’re going to begin to reduce our military presence; the pace will be determined by the conditions. But the beginning point is July of 2011 and the Afghan leaders know it.

“This has been a really strong message to the Afghan leaders that they must accept responsibility – major responsibility – for their own security.”

While support for the Afghan war effort has waned in the House with fewer Democrats voting in favor of a recent war funding bill, Levin also said Sunday that he did see a similar loss of support among Senate Democrats.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Carl Levin • issues • State of the Union
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Adalbert

    The best thing that we can do in Afghanistan is to stop the killing and bring our troops home. There is absolutely nothing in that country that is worth one single American life.
    So what is keeping us there? The answer is very simple, a lot of people making a lot of money.

    August 1, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. ruty

    If you believe that first sentence you are not well informed. The Afghan government is corrupt–always has-always will be. We have no business there. Thanks for nothing George Bush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. JJ in NY

    Levin would lie thru his bald head to paint a rosy picture, just to reinforce the illusion that our troops could "cut and run" in order to satisfy some political point before the job was done .

    August 1, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    We can't afford the time required to get this done, at the current pace.

    August 1, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. JonDie

    When Bush and Cheney decided to invade and loot Iraq instead of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, the outcome of the Afghan war was decided. We lost (past tense).

    August 1, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. vic

    Congress , Senate and White house should analysis afghan war again and come up with new plan
    Main stream media should give more focus on Afghan and Iraq. One month less casualties media will stop talking about the war. Our men and women in dangerous war
    Till our troops come home media should give more times Please

    I really hate the media culture now specially FOX and MSNBC specially in prime time

    August 1, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Rob NY

    We need to get out of Afghanistan NOW.

    August 1, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. johnnyhouse

    Harry Truman ended WW2 in short order and then left us in the mess in Korea we are in now. Make up your own mind how long you want this mess to continue.If there is never a winner there is always a silent war if a cease fire is declared.We decide if we want a bunch of religious nuts to run the world or do we end it now one way or another.

    August 1, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. thor

    Obama turned this into an American led war from a Nato run war when he sent another 60,000 troops there. He needs to bring them home ,now.All this to support a corrupt Karzai.And for Obama to thump his chest like he's playing a game of basketball.

    August 1, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Marcus

    johnnyhouse – If I recall it right, the Korean War ended in Ike's first term (1953), and all that mess that Douglas MacArthur created while he publically demanded that Truman OBEYED him (gross insubordination anyone?) can't be placed on Truman's lap, but I agree that let those 'infidels' (or whatever the Muslims calls those who claim to profess their faith but actually follow a very twisted and obscene variation of it) walk free is to ask for the day that they will strike (again) on US soil...

    August 1, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. larry

    that combover has got to go

    August 1, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. BILL, WI

    Now that Democrats have inherited the war the tune has changed. Two years ago the Dems perpetual refrain was the war was lost, Afghan govt. is corrupt, Taliban will win, a surge can never work, bring home our country's treasure. Fast forward to Aug 2010 it is now the war can be won, Karzai is a patriotic Afghan working tirelessly against certain govt. officials, the Taliban are on the run, we are now taking the fight to the Taliban in areas that they have control. Lets see what another 18 months brings.

    August 1, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |