Obama's Afghan Policy Speech Has Many Intended Audiences
President Barack Obama is scheduled to lay out his latest plans for the war in Afghanistan tomorrow evening, and stories continue to emerge about what he's expected to say and how he will say it.
As NPR's Cokie Roberts told Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, Obama will be addressing several audiences -- including the American public, which wants to hear details about the goals and timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces; and Pakistan, which he will seek to assure that the U.S. won't completely leave the region "for a good time to come":
The New York Times writes that the president "plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces."
According to The Wall Street Journal, "the Obama administration has soured on a call from its top commander to double the size of the Afghan police and army, reflecting the White House's continued skepticism about the Afghan government even as the U.S. prepares a surge of troops into the country, people familiar with the matter say."
USA TODAY adds that Obama's plan "involves more than sending additional forces" and will address reducing civilian casualties, protecting the Afghan population, concentrating forces in key regions and "increasing the pace of training Afghan police and soldiers."
There's related news about one of Afghanistan's important neighbors. The Washington Post writes that "President Obama has offered Pakistan an expanded strategic partnership, including additional military and economic cooperation, while warning with unusual bluntness that its use of insurgent groups to pursue policy goals 'cannot continue'. "
NPR's Michele Kelemen reported on Morning Edition that in the past, the U.S. has not monitored aid to Pakistan very well. The aim of much of the aid now, she says, will be to fund very "visible" projects such as bringing running water to schools and medical clinics:
Other stories making headlines this morning include:
-- Bloomberg News -- Dubai Concern Eases: "Emerging-market stocks rebounded (today), sending the MSCI Emerging Markets Index to its biggest gain in two weeks, as Abu Dhabi's pledge to back Dubai's banks soothed investors. The dollar retreated, sending commodities higher."
From a related story by The Guardian: "The share falls seen in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have not been mirrored around the world. In fact, many stock markets have seen pretty decent rallies today. Japan's Nikkei closed nearly 3% higher, with the Hong Kong Hang Seng index gaining 3.25%."
From a related report from Larry Miller in London -- Some Asian Markets May Have Overreacted:
-- The Associated Press -- Conservative Rancher Elected In Honduras: "Honduras has a newly elected president. The question is whether he can convince the world the vote was legitimate and show that Hondurans want to put a summer coup behind them. Announcing that conservative rancher Porfirio Lobo was headed for victory in Sunday's presidential contest, election officials said more than 60% of registered voters cast ballots, an increase from the last election, when about 55% voted."
-- The Orlando Sentinel -- Tiger Woods Hires Lawyer, Declines To Speak To Police, Says Accident Was His Fault.