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Obama meets Karzai in Afghanistan

Now that he has sewn up the Democratic Presidential nomination, it is time for Obama to reduce the gap between himself and McCain over national security grasp and credentials. McCain is a former military man with a distinguished service record, and has served a 5 year prisoner of war imprisonment. He has been involved in his elected Senator terms with national security and armed matters, and boasts of an impeccable record. Obama does not have any such record, and is too young (one-term senator) to boast of any kind of credentials for national security (other than having consistently opposed the Iraq war in the past). A first such attempt was made by the Obama camp to question whether McCain really has a qualified military record, but that attempt got burned. So, now this is the next step, where Obama goes to Afghanistan to review the situation over there, to meet military officials and to get a feeling for the situation:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama met today in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has been criticized by the Illinois senator for failing to reduce corruption in the nation’s government. The meeting at the presidential palace lasted more than one hour and was followed by a lunch, according to Karzai spokesman Siamac Herawi. The two discussed a range of issues, including “U.S.-Afghan cooperation to defeat terrorism, the root causes of terrorism, Afghanistan’s achievements in recent years and the way forward,” Herawi said.

The journey is Obama’s first to Afghanistan, where the U.S. led an invasion to topple the Taliban following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since then, Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters have established themselves in rugged mountains along the Pakistani-Afghan border and have used that sanctuary as a base from which to attack U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Obama, who stopped in Kuwait on the way to Afghanistan to see U.S. soldiers, is also scheduled to go to Baghdad, Amman, Israel and the West Bank, Berlin, Paris and London.

McCain had been egging on Obama to have a trip to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, and this trip, if it goes to Iraq and to European capitals, will allow Obama to present himself as having a foreign policy. In that sense, this was an essential trip so that he proclaim that he has met commanders in the field, as well as started the process to mend relations with many partners of the US.

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