Foreign Policy Blogs

Wood Out, Eikenberry In

imagesPresident Obama has officially named Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry as his choice to be the US ambassador to Afghanistan.  Eikenberry, a career military man, was the top US commander in Afghanistan until 2007.  Though some are concerned about giving such a key diplomatic spot to a military leader, I feel this is an excellent choice.  Eikenberry has had productive and cordial relations with Afghan President Karzai and knows the challenges he faces in the conflict as much as anyone could.

During his stint as the lead Commander of US forces in the country, Eikenberry was one of the first to highlight the growing challenge being brought to the counter by a resurgent Taliban and has had strong words to say about the importance of tackling Al Qaeda elements inside of Pakistan, which of course is in accord with Obama’s statements.  Eikenberry’s current position as a NATO deputy chairman could also prove useful in negotiations for more European support for the stabilization of the state, emphasis on ‘could’.

It would be wrong to not end this post with an acknowledgement of the fine work done by current US Ambassador William Wood, who has now served in a very difficult position admirably for two years.  Here is a recent Q & A with the Ambassador.