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Obama urges troop build-up in Afghanistan

Latest update : 2008-07-21

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama expressed concern at "precarious and urgent conditions" in Afghanistan after meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. He is visiting the country as part of a world tour prior to elections.

Conditions in Afghanistan are "precarious and urgent," Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama warned in an interview aired Sunday as he renewed his call for an immediate increase in US troops there.

"The Afghan government needs to do more, but we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan," Obama told CBS news during his first trip to the country that is facing a resurgent Taliban insurgency.

Obama called for at least two more brigades to be sent to Afghanistan.

"Now is the time for us to do it. I think it's important for us to begin planning for those brigades now," he said.

"If we wait until the next administration, it could be a year before we get those additional troops on the ground here in Afghanistan. I think that would be a mistake."

Obama, who met in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said the United States had been "distracted" by the war in Iraq and should instead be focused on fighting Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

"And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front on our battle against terrorism," he said.

Obama is in the midst of a highly-anticipated foreign trip to burnish his foreign policy credentials as he battles for the White House with Republican rival John McCain, and is expected to travel to Iraq and later to Jordan, Israel and Europe.

Date created : 2008-07-20