An Obama campaign plane sits on the tarmac in Chicago.
Before leaving Kabul for Baghdad, Barack Obama spoke to his intention to increase America’s troop commitment to Afghanistan by 10,000 soldiers. “We have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent ... and I believe this has to be the central focus, the central front, in the battle against terrorism,” the candidate told CBS.
William Pfaff, in a recent column, argues that it would be folly to escalate the war in Afghanistan.
Obama’s visit to Iraq comes on the heels of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s apparent endorsement of the senator’s withdrawal plan.
Yesterday [Sunday] Obama went to the heavily guarded presidential palace in Kabul for a potentially awkward lunch with President Hamid Karzai, whom he accused last week of failing to leave his bunker to tackle the rebuilding of Afghanistan and fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Afghan officials afterwards described the meeting as “positive”, saying they had discussed the war and how to tackle corruption and expanding poppy production. Afterwards, in an interview with the US network CBS, Obama signalled that the country would be at the forefront of his foreign policy: “We have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent ... and I believe this has to be the central focus, the central front, in the battle against terrorism.”
He added: “I think the situation is getting urgent enough that we have to start doing something now.”