McChrystal’s NATO Partner
As Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s military commander, first confirmed to TWI two weeks ago, the transatlantic alliance will announce a new top representative in Afghanistan to corral political, diplomatic and developmental aid alongside Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The announcement, set for Thursday’s London conference on Afghanistan, will elevate Britain’s top diplomat in Kabul, Mark Sedwill, to the new position.
Ironically, the announcement of Sedwill’s new job comes at an inconvenient moment for McChrystal’s American partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Eikenberry has his November cables warning against a U.S. “extended surge” and railing against Afghan President Hamid Karzai as a hopelessly intransigent ally plastered all over The New York Times. (The cables leaked back then to The Times and The Washington Post, but not in full, and they caused a fracas.)
“Sending additional forces will delay the day when Afghans will take over, and make it difficult, if not impossible, to bring our people home on a reasonable timetable,” he wrote Nov. 6. “An increased U.S. and foreign role in security and governance will increase Afghan dependence, at least in the short-term.”
Of course, President Obama placed a transition date of July 2011 for beginning Afghan control, which presumably is what allowed Eikenberry to testify in December “without equivocation” that he backs the Obama plan for Afghanistan.