More US troops needed for Afghanistan: Obama
Conditions in Afghanistan are "precarious and urgent," Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama warned in an interview aired Sunday as he renewed his call for an immediate increase in US troops there.
"The Afghan government needs to do more, but we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan," Obama told CBS news during his first trip to the country that is facing a resurgent Taliban insurgency.
Obama called for at least two more brigades to be sent to Afghanistan.
"Now is the time for us to do it. I think it's important for us to begin planning for those brigades now," he said.
"If we wait until the next administration, it could be a year before we get those additional troops on the ground here in Afghanistan. I think that would be a mistake."
Obama, who met in Kabul Sunday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said the United States had been "distracted" by the war in Iraq and should instead be focused on fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
"And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front on our battle against terrorism," he said.
"They have sanctuary here," Obama said of insurgents from al-Qaeda and the Taliban, adding that they have been "gathering huge amounts of money" as a consequence of the region's drug trade.
"I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here," Obama said.