Obama to Propose Funds for Afghanistan, Harder Line in Pakistan
Sen. Barack Obama will propose deploying two additional U.S brigades to Afghanistan in a speech Wednesday mapping out his approach to combating terrorism, an adviser said.
Following up on his vigorous debate with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton over how to handle leaders of hostile states, Obama will "talk forthrightly" about the need to take action across the border in Pakistan if United States intelligence officials believe they have actionable intelligence about terrorist activity.
Administration officials have said in recent weeks that they reserve the right to act unilaterally against al-Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan, something that has strained relations with Islamabad.
The speech at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington will be prefaced with an introduction by Lee Hamilton -- who was vice chairman of the 9/11 commission -- and appears designed to help build Obama's credentials on foreign policy. It also comes at a time when he is being pressed by Clinton and her surrogates on his readiness to perform on the world stage.
Nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks brought foreign terrorism to US soil, Obama intends to underscore what he argues is one of President Bush's greatest failings -- his inability to capture Osama bin Laden -- by proposing higher troop levels in the region. He will also propose doubling US military aid to Afghanistan and putting restrictions in military aid to Pakistan, making it conditional on keeping ungoverned regions, particularly Waziristan, under tight control, the adviser said. The adviser declined to release other details of the speech.
--Anne E. Kornblut
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