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Obama slams McCain for backing Musharraf
August 20, 2008 10:55 IST
Maintaining that the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan are the central front in the war on terrorism, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama [Images] has slammed Republican rival John McCain [Images] for backing a 'dictator' in former president Pervez Musharraf [Images].
"We cannot succeed in Afghanistan or secure America as long as there is a terrorist safe-haven in northwest Pakistan. A year ago, I said that we must take action against bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights and Pakistan cannot or will not act," Obama said.
"McCain criticised me and claimed I was for 'bombing our ally'. He refused to join my call to take out Laden across the Afghan border and instead spent years backing a dictator in Pakistan who failed to serve the interests of his own people," the Illinois Senator said during his address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Orlando.
"The departure of President Musharraf has given the US an opportunity to move away from a foreign policy focused on one person to a 'Pakistan Policy'.
"I've co-sponsored a bill to triple non-military aid to the Pakistani people, while ensuring that the military assistance we do provide is used to take the fight to the Taliban [Images] and Al Qaida in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
"Ending the war in Iraq will allow us to invest in America, to strengthen our military, and to finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Pak-Afghan border region. This is the central front in the war on terrorism," he said.
"With his overwhelming focus on Iraq, McCain argued that we could just 'muddle through' in Afghanistan, and only came around to supporting my call for more troops last month.
"I've called for at least two additional US combat brigades and an additional $ 1 billion in non-military assistance for Afghanistan, with a demand for more action from its government," informed Obama.
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