Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, has said that he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, a week after chief rival Hillary Clinton described his foreign policy skills as naive.
The senator warned Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf that, under an Obama presidency, he would have to do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters or risk a US troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
In clips released by his campaign of a speech he is due to make later today, Mr Obama said: "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again.
"It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qa'eda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
His speech comes the week after the former First Lady accused her Democratic rival of being "irresponsible and frankly naive" in agreeing to meet the "world's worst dictators".
In a Democratic debate, broadcast on YouTube, Mr Obama said he would be willing to meet leaders of rogue states like Cuba, North Korea and Iran without conditions, which Mrs Clinton criticised as irresponsible and naive.
He responded by using the same words to describe the New York senator's vote to authorise the Iraq war and called her "Bush-Cheney lite."
Mr Obama said that as commander in chief he would remove troops from Iraq and put them "on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
He said he would send at least two more brigades to Afghanistan and increase non-military aid to the country by $1 billion (£492 million).
He also said he would create a three-year, $5 billion (£2.46 million) programme to share intelligence with allies worldwide in a bid to wipe out terrorist networks from Indonesia to Africa.
The speech comes as a new poll shows that Mrs Clinton has widened her lead over Mr Obama in the race for the US Democratic presidential nomination.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 43 per cent of Democratic respondents said they preferred the former first lady over other Democratic candidates in the 2008 contest, up from 39 per cent in June, the poll showed.
It also showed that if the elections were held today, either of those Democrats would beat former New York Major Rudy Giuliani, the current Republican favourite.
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007.