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News Wrap: Steele Comments on Afghan War Draw Fire From Both Parties

July 2, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The jobs report added to Wall Street’s worries and extended the market’s losing streak. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 46 points to close at 9686. The Nasdaq fell nine points to close at 2091. For the week, the Dow lost 4.5 percent; the Nasdaq fell nearly 6 percent.

General David Petraeus is now on the job as the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He landed in Kabul today to take command from General Stanley McChrystal, who was fired last week. Petraeus arrived after six suicide bombers killed four people in the north at a USAID compound in Kunduz. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

A NATO spokesman said it showed desperation.

BRIG. GEN. JOSEF BLOTZ, spokesman, International Security Assistance Force: These attacks, as crazy as they are, they show kind of a frustration and resignation on their side. It is indiscriminate. It is useless. It is crazy. And it usually, like the case we are just seeing here in Kunduz, goes against innocent civilians.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, the Republican national chairman, Michael Steele, touched off a furor with an attack on President Obama’s Afghan policy. He told a political fund-raiser in Connecticut — quote — “This was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

Republicans and Democrats alike condemned Steele. Later, he said the U.S. cannot accept anything but success in Afghanistan.

Thousands of Pakistanis demonstrated in Lahore today, after suicide bombings there at a popular Sufi Muslim shrine. The attacks Thursday killed 42 people and wounded nearly 180 others. Today, protesters carried signs and yelled slogans, charging that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan triggered the attacks. They also criticized poor security at the shrine.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.