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New US president likely to focus more on Afghanistan
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by Yang Qingchuan

Whoever succeeds George W. Bush next January as the new U.S. president, be it Democratic candidate Barack Obama or his Republican rival John McCain, the new leader will likely focus more on Afghanistan in his overall war strategy as the candidates' recent speeches indicate.


Although Obama and McCain clash sharply on how to handle the war in Iraq, they appear to converge on the need to shift the focus to Afghanistan.

In a major foreign policy speech delivered in Washington on Tuesday, Obama called for a "new direction" in international relations and a change in focus from Iraq to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.

Earlier, in an op-ed published in Monday's The New York Times, Obama said he would send at least two more combat brigades, which means about 7,000 more troops, to Afghanistan if he won the presidential race.

"We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more non-military assistance to accomplish the mission there," he wrote.

McCain, speaking in Albuquerque in the state of New Mexico, said things were getting worse in Afghanistan and called for a "comprehensive strategy for victory" there.

He proposed sending three additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, on the condition that it should not interfere with the pursuit of victory in Iraq.

It was noteworthy, though, that they stressed the importance of Afghanistan from different perspectives.

While Obama said the shift of focus was meant to redeem the Bush administration's failure in Iraq, McCain claimed the U.S. military can copy its recent "success" in Iraq to Afghanistan.

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