Saturday, July 19, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama arrived Saturday in Afghanistan on the first stop of his tour of the Middle East and Europe, aimed at boosting the U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful's foreign policy credentials, his campaign confirmed.
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama made his first visit to Afghanistan on Saturday before he embarks on his tour of the Middle East and Europe aimed at bolstering his foreign policy credentials.
The U.S. senator from Illinois left Washington on Thursday and stopped first in Kuwait to visit U.S. troops there, according to Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Obama plans to visit Iraq, although details of the trip have have not been made public for security reasons.
The Democratic presidential hopeful's spoke briefly to a pool reporter about his trip just before leaving Washington.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what the situation on the ground is," Obama said. "I want to, obviously, talk to the commanders and get a sense, both in Afghanistan and in Baghdad of, you know, what the most, their biggest concerns are. And I want to thank our troops for the heroic work that they've been doing."
Asked if he would have tough talk for the leaders of Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama said he was "more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking."
"I think it is very important to recognize that I'm going over there as a U.S. senator. We have one president at a time, so it's the president's job to deliver those messages," Obama said.
The fight in Afghanistan has become a more pressing issue on the political radar. Three times as many coalition soldiers and other military personnel have died in July in Afghanistan than in Iraq.
On Sunday, nine U.S. soldiers were killed in a fight with about 200 Taliban militants in eastern Afghanistan. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in Afghanistan in three years.
Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling suspected that his days were numbered last week, while he and his band of brothers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team prepared for a mission near Wanat, Afghanistan.
Two French humanitarian workers were kidnapped at gunpoint Friday in Afghanistan and spirited out of the house they were sleeping in.
Local security forces and coalition soldiers killed two Taliban leaders and several other insurgents Thursday in western Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.
A formal investigation into an attack on a U.S. Army unit by about 200 Taliban insurgents will examine whether the Army had intelligence about a possible assault and whether the troops had access to it.
Spc. Grover Gebhart has spent nine months at a small post on a Sunni-Shiite fault line in western Baghdad. But the 21-year-old soldier on his first tour in Iraq feels he's missing the real war -- in Afghanistan, where his NATO: 'High-priority' Taliban leaders killed
Local security forces and coalition soldiers in western Afghanistan killed several insurgents Thursday in what the NATO command called a "successful operation against high-priority Taliban targets."brother is fighting the Taliban.
Local security forces and coalition soldiers in western Afghanistan killed several insurgents Thursday in what the NATO command called a "successful operation against high-priority Taliban targets."
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Afghan lawmakers have directly accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of involvement in a string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, blasting their neighbor as "the largest center for breeding and exporting terrorism."