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Other News: Obama to Announce Afghan Strategy in ‘the Coming Weeks’

October 13, 2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news, President Obama said he will announce whether he intends to send more troops to Afghanistan in "the coming weeks," and military jets bombed a series of militant targets along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news today: President Obama reaffirmed, he will decide on sending additional troops to Afghanistan in the coming weeks. The top U.S. commander there, General Stanley McChrystal, has reportedly asked for up to 40,000 more troops.

Today, the president said his current review is consistent with his initial strategy decision last March.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: At the time, I said we were going to deploy additional troops in order to secure the election. After the election, I said it was important for us to reassess the situation on the ground. And that’s what we’re doing, not just on the military side, but also on the civilian side.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said today that he fully supports General McChrystal. He did not say how many U.S. troops should be sent in.

In Pakistan, military jets bombed a series of militant targets along the Afghan border. The air assault came in South Waziristan. The Pakistani army is expected to launch a ground offensive there soon. And, 200 miles to the north, helicopter gunships killed 26 insurgents in separate attacks.

About 100 British troops will be returning to Iraq to protect southern oil ports. The Iraqi parliament approved an agreement today to let British Royal Navy trainers deploy for one year. At one point, Britain had 40,000 troops in Iraq. The last of those forces withdrew during the summer.

Russia resisted U.S. efforts today to win support for new sanctions against Iran. Secretary of State Clinton met with Foreign Minister Lavrov

in Moscow. Clinton pressed for new efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, but she did not ask for any specific commitment.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: We believe that Iran is entitled to peaceful nuclear energy, but that it is not entitled to nuclear weapons. We have always looked at the potential of sanctions in the event that we are not successful, that we cannot assure ourselves and others that Iran has decided not to pursue nuclear weapons.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Foreign Minister Lavrov said, any move to punish Iran would be counterproductive. He insisted and said the U.S. agrees there’s no need for immediate action.

SERGEI LAVROV: We are not asking anything from each other, because it would be ridiculous to ask something on an issue on which our positions coincide.

We want to resolve all issues connected with Iran’s nuclear program in a way the country is able to fully enjoy its right as a non-nuclear member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and take advantage of all the ensuing opportunities in the field of peaceful nuclear power engineering.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Lavrov also reported considerable progress toward a new strategic arms treaty with the U.S.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Enron’s former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling. In 2006, he was convicted of conspiracy, insider trading, securities fraud, and lying to auditors. He’s now serving a 24-year prison term. Skilling’s appeal says prosecutors never showed that he was trying to advance his own interests, rather than the company’s.

China now has more billionaires than any country except the U.S. An annual report today found 130 known billionaires in China this year, up from 101 last year. The U.S. had 359 billionaires.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 14 points, to close at 9871. The Nasdaq rose a fraction-of-a-point, to close near 2140.