Amb. Eikenberry’s Conditional Dissent on Afghanistan Escalation

November 11, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Breaking news from The Washington Post:

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the last week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban’s rise, said senior U.S. officials.

Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry’s memos were sent in the days leading up to a critical meeting Wednesday between President Obama and his national security team to consider several options prepared by military planners for how to proceed in Afghanistan. The proposals, which mark the last stage of a months-long strategy review, all call for between 20,000 to 40,000 more troops and a far broader American involvement of the war.

Eikenberry, of course, is no career diplomat. He commanded the Afghanistan war in 2006 and 2007 as a three-star Army general. Whether these dissents get walked back — or if they’re a ploy to pressure President Hamid Karzai — remains to be seen. But Eikenberry has a reportedly good working relationship with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the current commander, and would not file frivolous dissents — let alone two in one week.