Sunday, July 20, 2008
Barack Obama Visits Across the World
KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Sunday, Reuters reported, the second day of a visit to Afghanistan that is meant to bolster the senator’s foreign policy credentials.
Obama has previously criticized Karzai, who has led Afghanistan since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the hardline Islamist Taliban in 2001, but said the purpose of this trip was to listen rather than deliver strong messages.
Obama, part of a congressional delegation, was at the heavily guarded Afghan presidential palace in the capital Kabul and was having lunch with Karzai, a palace official said.
The Illinois senator will also visit Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain on a foreign tour he hopes will help answer Republican criticism that he does not have the experience to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Obama last week criticized Karzai in an interview with CNN.
“I think the Karzai government has not gotten out of the bunker and helped to organize Afghanistan, and the government, the judiciary, police forces, in ways that would give people confidence. So there are a lot of problems there,” he said.
Once the darling of the West, Karzai has come under increasing criticism at home and abroad for failing to take tough action to clamp down on rampant corruption, tackle former warlords and stamp out record-breaking drug production — all factors that feed the growing Taliban insurgency.
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