Obama urges shift of focus from Iraq to Afghanistan

July 16th, 2008 - 12:06 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
Washington, July 15 (DPA) Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama Tuesday said the US must broaden its foreign policy focus beyond Iraq, as he pledged to end the war and focus on fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In a speech on foreign policy ahead of a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East, Obama said the war in Iraq “distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize”.

He renewed his call to withdraw most US troops from Iraq within 16 months if he is elected, and said more troops should be shifted to defeating Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“In fact, as should have been apparent to President Bush and Senator McCain, the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was,” Obama said.

A poll released late Monday showed that Americans were evenly divided between the Iraq strategies of Obama and Republican rival John McCain.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll found that when it came to the presumptive presidential candidates’ positions, 47 percent polled said they trusted McCain more on Iraq while 45 percent gave the nod to Obama.

Asked if Obama would be an effective commander-in-chief, 48 percent said yes and same percent of respondents said no, the Post reported on its website.

Obama’s speech also focused on keeping nuclear weapons from terrorists, achieving energy security and rebuilding US alliances with other countries.

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