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Published:July 20th, 2008 07:49 EST
Obama builds foreign policy resume

Obama builds foreign policy resume

By SOP newswire

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had breakfast with U.S. troops in the Afghan capital, Kabul Sunday ahead of an expected meeting with President Hamid Karzai.

On Saturday, Obama and two other U.S. senators, Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island, met with top military leaders at the main U.S. base north of Kabul before traveling to the eastern city of Jalalabad where they were briefed by U.S. and Afghan officials.

Obama is also expected to visit Iraq as part of an international tour designed to boost his foreign policy credentials.  The first-term senator has called for phasing out U.S. troops from Iraq and increasing the American military presence in Afghanistan, which he says is more important in the fight against terrorism.

But his Republican rival, John McCain, has criticized Obama for announcing a strategy for Iraq and Afghanistan before traveling to the two countries.

In his radio address Saturday, McCain said in a time of war, the commander-in-chief`s position does not allow time to learn the job.  The veteran Arizona lawmaker noted his own experience, saying he would bring to the job many years of military and political experience.

Also Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was quoted in a German news weekly, Der Spiegel, as saying he supports Obama`s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from the country within 16 months.

But Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement Sunday that Mr. Maliki`s views were "misunderstood and mistranslated." 

Al-Dabbagh said the the prime minister backs the general idea of pulling out U.S. combat forces based on talks with Washington.  He also repeated that Mr. Maliki is not endorsing any candidate for the U.S. presidency.

Obama`s tour also includes stops in Israel, Jordan, Germany, France and Britain.  Palestinian officials say he will meet with leaders in the West Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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