Eikenberry’s Dire Cables Asked for a Top NATO Civilian in Afghanistan
In case I left the impression in my previous post that the elevation of British diplomat Mark Sedwill to a new senior NATO civilian envoy to Afghanistan was a demotion for U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, let me correct it straight away. In Eikenberry’s dour November cables warning about the treacherous road ahead in Afghanistan, he explicitly called for a new NATO civilian partner for Gen. McChrystal to equalize civilian and military efforts:
The proposed strategy does not remedy an inadequate civilian structure. There is no civilian organizational counterpart to ISAF and no political leadership equivalent to NATO-ISAF commander [Gen. Stanley McChrystal], a deficiency that hampers civilian effectiveness and heavily skews the NATO-ISAF dialogue with the Afghan government. UNAMA [the United Nations mission to Afghanistan] is not capable of coordinating all the civilian efforts, because its role is not to serve as the civilian policy and program counterpart to NATO-ISAF. … [O]ur coalition efforts will remain less than optimum unless a stronger civilian structure is created.
That structure will be formally unveiled on Thursday in London.