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US envoy to Afghanistan urges Obama not to send more troops

November 13, 2009

KABUL/WASHINGTON -US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W Eikenberry has told President Barack Obama through a leaked cabled message that it would be a mistake to send additional military reinforcements to war-torn Afghanistan, and has reportedly advised the White House to hold off on such move till the Hamid Karzai government demonstrates that it will act against corruption and mismanagement.

Eikenberry, who has long experience of Afghanistan and is a recently retired three-star general,said that there is a dangerous misunderstanding outside Afghanistan about what “corruption and mismanagement” mean in an Afghan context and a potentially lethal underestimation of how these impact on American and British forces.

Agreeing with Eikenberry’s conclusions, Britain’s shadow Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, argued in an article for The Independent on Sunday that, “we need to recognise that Afghan governance is likely to look very different from governance as we know it in the West”.

Eikenberry has expressed frustration over the lack of US money being allocated for spending on development and reconstruction after Afghanistan’s infrastructure was wrecked by 30 years of war.

The ambassador has not even been able to obtain 2.5 billion dollars for non-military spending.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Some 12 million out of 27 million Afghans live below the poverty line on 45 cents a day, according to the UN.

Yet the lower estimate for each extra 1,000 US troops is a billion dollars a year.

Eikenberry is rightly sceptical about the dispatch of reinforcements to prop up a regime which is more of a racket than an administration. (ANI)

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