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Senator Barack Obama Travels to Afghanistan, Meets with President Karzai

Democratic senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-Ill.) visited Afghanistan on July 19-20, 2008 as a part of a week-long overseas tour. Sen. Obama, who was joined by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), met with U.S. military commanders, American soldiers, and Afghan government officials during his two-day stay.

Upon his arrival in Kabul, Sen. Obama traveled to Nangarhar province by helicopter to meet with the governor and additional officials to discuss the security situation in the region. Furthermore, Senator Obama met with U.S. troops stationed in the area to convey his gratitude for the service they are providing in Afghanistan and the region. After his meeting Sen. Obama traveled back to Kabul where he met and had dinner with U.S. troops at Camp Eggers U.S military base.

On his second day in Afghanistan, Sen. Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior members of the cabinet for a two-hour discussion that left both sides optimistic about what can be done in Afghanistan. According to presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada, "Sen. Obama conveyed ... that he is committed to supporting Afghanistan and to continue the war against terrorism with vigor."

Sen. Obama also visited with U.S. military officials and spoke to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan. "To see young people like this who are doing such excellent work, with so much dedication … it makes you feel good about the country," he said. "I want to make sure that everybody back home understands how much pride people take in their work here and how much sacrifice people are making."

U.S Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (centre ... The senator from Illinois has been calling for increased attention to the Afghan front and a sharp increase in the number of U.S. troops stationed there. "The situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan and I believe this has to be the central front in our battle against terrorists," he explained during an interview on CBS News.

Sen. Obama is not alone in making calls for a new commitment to Afghanistan. Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also called for an increased U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Both candidates have called for the deployment of at least one additional brigade, with Sen. Obama arguing for up to 7,000 more U.S. soldiers. President Karzai expressed optimism for the upcoming U.S. elections in November saying that both Democrats and Republicans "are friends of Afghanistan and no matter who wins ... Afghanistan will have a strong partnership with the United States."

Related News: CBS News Interviews Obama in Afghanistan

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