Biden Is Accused of Distorting Afghan War Story; Damage Control: Barack Obama, above in Nevada, Has Refused to Comment on Stories Told by Joe Biden, Left, of Trips to War Zones

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Byline: PAUL THOMPSON

DEMOCRATIC vice presidential nominee Joe Biden today faced accusations of embellishing his account of a visit to Iraq when he appeared to claim to have come under enemy fire.

He is also said to have talked up a forced landing in a helicopter while visiting Afghanistan to make it more dramatic.

With Mr Biden less than 24 hours away from his crucial televised debate with his opposite number, Sarah Palin, his honesty was being questioned by Republican party chiefs.

There are fears within the Democratic party that the "war stories" could damage Barack Obama if given a wider airing.

Mr McCain's spokesman said the Obama-Biden campaign have deliberately stayed silent over the apparent embellishments.

Mr Biden raised eyebrows last week with his account of his exploits in the war zones. He said he would quiz Mrs Palin in tomorrow's debate about "the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down".

He told the National Guard Association: "If you want to know where al Qaeda lives, you want to know where

Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me.

"Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are." But the reality was different. Bad weather forced his helicopter to land, and while American jets kept watch overhead, a land transport team was sent to retrieve him and his party. …