US envoy opposed to Afghan surge

November 11, 2009

The US ambassador in Kabul has written to the White House to oppose sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan.

us-soldiersIn a leaked cable, Karl Eikenberry said President Karzai’s government should first prove it would tackle corruption. The message arrived amid intense debate over strategy, with President Obama yet to make a decision on troop numbers. The dramatic intervention puts the ambassador – a former military commander in Afghanistan – at odds with generals seeking reinforcements. On Wednesday, President Obama held his eighth meeting to discuss the question of whether to send tens of thousands more troops to confront the Taliban.

Mr Eikenberry sent the secret cable in the past week, according to US media reports. Expressing concern about corruption in Afghanistan, he said it was “not a good idea” to send substantially more soldiers, the BBC has been told. The diplomatic dispatch appears to be a dramatic and last-minute intervention by the ambassador, says BBC Washington correspondent Adam Brookes. It comes right at the end of weeks of White House deliberation over how to proceed in Afghanistan, and appears to put the ambassador at odds with the US Army, whose generals favour reinforcing and intensifying America’s campaign. The US currently has some 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, among a coalition force of more than 100,000.

Military chief ‘fuming’

Officials say the Obama administration considered several options at Wednesday’s meeting, including:

• Deploying another 40,000 troops, the option pushed for by the top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal

• Sending an additional 30,000 soldiers – a plan said to be favoured by Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm Mike Mullen

• Sending about 20,000 extra troops

• A fourth option added in the past week involves sending 10,000 to 15,000 more soldiers, according to US media reports

In weighing up the options, Mr Obama is also preoccupied with how long it would take to see results and be able to withdraw, officials said. Gen McChrystal was said to be fuming about Mr Eikenberry’s intervention.

But a statement issued by the White House after Wednesday afternoon’s strategy meeting appeared to reflect some of the envoy’s concerns. “The president believes we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open ended,” it said. “After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time.”

Kabul hits back

The Obama administration is also known to have concerns about the reliability of the government of President Karzai, who was last week declared winner of August’s widely criticised presidential election. Speaking on a visit to the Philippines, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration had raised the issues of corruption and poor governance with President Karzai.

“I think the corruption issue really goes to the heart of whether the people of Afghanistan feel that the government is on their side, is working for them,” she told reporters. Mr Obama was due to begin a nine-day tour of Asia on Thursday. A spokesman for President Karzai has insisted the Afghan administration is “serious” about tackling corruption, AFP news agency reports.

Siamak Herawi also suggested that Western governments could play a bigger role in combating abuse of aid donations. “We want the international community to do more to eliminate corruption in spending aid money,” he was quoted as saying. “Corruption in the international aid money spending affects Afghanistan, Afghan people and their lives, and the Afghan administration.”



  1. I have been browsing “Yahoo Buzz” which is more anti-Obama than Fox News.

    The comments on this blog,almost all,say he is a Muslim,and that Islam allows Muslims to attend a certain church in America(which Obama has been attending).

    Obama is in a total fix.He is involved in an issue which is not his creation.His problem is “To do or not to do”

    I think he should decide on the basis of a referendum to save his skin.

    In any case,Afghanistan is going to be a Qabrastan for America.

    • Insha Allah

    • Hi there just for my knowledge can you provide any refrence for the statement u made about Islam allowed Muslim to attend certain church in America .


  2. @Fawad

    I am extremely sorry I cannot provide more on that.

    It was so that I was casually surfing “Yahoo Buzz”.In the news story criticising Obama for delaying his response to Fort Hood killings,lots of anti-Obama comments appeared.One guy referred to some reverand who made the said claim,as in my post.

    ICNA or ISNA in America can help.Your simply type their names.

    You forced me to reply,otherwise I am bycotting PKKH unless they stop RAW to propagate in these blogs.

    • Thanks for the clarification, I appreciate it.

      By the way I personally think boycotting is not the way to go, one should see observe and then point out what you think about it in a rational way.
      Boycotting means people here will loose one good brain… give it a thought.

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