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US Ambassador to Afghanistan: Troop Increase A Bad Idea

QUENTIN

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Ambassador Eikenberry's Cables on U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan

In November 2009, Karl W. Eikenberry, the United States ambassador to Afghanistan and retired Army lieutenant general, sent two classified cables to his superiors in which he offered his assessment of the proposed U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. While the broad outlines of Mr. Eikenberry's cables were leaked soon after he sent them, the complete cables, obtained recently by The New York Times, show just how strongly the current ambassador feels about President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government, the state of its military, and the chances that a troop buildup will actually hurt the war effort by making the Karzai government too dependent on the United States.

As an expert who served two tours in Afghanistan in a command position and is intimately familiar with the realities on the ground, Lt. General Eikenberry explains why Karzai cannot be trusted as an ally, believes the U.S. want to permanently occupy and establish bases in the country (wonder how he got that idea), that the projections for our eventual exit are wildly optimistic to the point of being implausible, and that increased troop presence will be costly and counterproductive as the inevitable increase in civilian deaths will lead further civilians to side with the Taliban and our committed, increased presence will substantially delay the Afghan government and local security forces from being ready, willing, or able to take over and make them ever more dependent on us.

Whether you disagree, or especially if you agree, with the decision to stay in Afghanistan and double the number of U.S. troops there, this memo is extremely valuable and worth reading as a well-articulated and expert insight into the problems with continuing our presence in the country.
 

Devin

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Karsai may not be trusted, but he's the only game we've got. Afghanistan has been rolled over by invaders more times than a 10cent whore in Leeds. The Russians wanted it. Genghis Khan wanted it. But the Taliban and the terrorists have it. Pakistan and Afghanistan are two of the lawless regions of the world where despots like to grow their organizations and are largely untouched because of the vastness and remoteness of the areas.
 

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