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Memos Show White House Rift On Troop Surge

Friday, 13 November 2009 09:31 AM

Two leaked classified cables from the US Ambassador in Kabul voicing grave concern about sending more American troops to Afghanistan have exposed open conflict inside President Obama’s national security team over his war strategy.

The contents of the cables, passed to The Washington Post and The New York Times yesterday by three officials, also highlighted growing uncertainty inside the White House about how to prosecute the war, amid deep concerns over the corruption of Hamid Karzai’s Government.

The cables put the Ambassador, Karl Eikenberry — a retired general who in 2007 was the top military commander in Afghanistan — starkly at odds with the current ground commander, General Stanley McChrystal, who has requested an increase of at least 40,000 troops.

In the memos, General Eikenberry said that he had deep reservations about sending in more US troops because he was concerned by the unreliability and corrupt nature of Mr Karzai’s Government. It is a problem that has dogged Mr Obama’s deliberations and undermined the urgent demand by General McChrystal for more troops.

The cables appear to have been shown to the media in an orchestrated effort by some members of Mr Obama’s war Cabinet to increase pressure on Mr Karzai to revamp his corruption-riddled Government.

They lay bare, however, the deepening rifts within the White House. “I have been appalled by the amount of leaking that has been going on,” Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, said.

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Friday, 13 November 2009 09:31 AM
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