March 31st, 2009
05:44 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain: Afghanistan challenge 'not as tough' as Iraq

 Sen. John McCain says he supports President Obama's efforts in Afghanistan.
Sen. John McCain says he supports President Obama's efforts in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - While President Obama has insisted that securing Afghanistan against a rise in terrorist groups is a top priority in the war on terrorism, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that the problems in that country are not as thorny as those in Iraq.

"It's [Afghanistan's] not as tough as Iraq, and don't let anyone tell you that it is, because when we started the [2007] surge, Iraq was virtually in a state of collapse," McCain said during a speech at The Foreign Policy Initiative.

President Obama announced a troop increase Friday of 4,000 in Afghanistan, in addition to the 17,000 previously announced. Obama said those troops will help train the Afghan army and police.

While McCain said he supports the president's efforts in Afghanistan, he would increase the Afghan army beyond the planned levels.

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