U.S. Afghanistan Policy May Depend on Karzai's Behaviour

Wednesday during the latest review of Afghanistan policy U.S. President Barack Obama asked for the revisions in the options for the U.S. war strategy. The official says the president wants his advisors to determine how and when U.S. troops can hand over security responsibility to the government in Kabul. Administration officials say Mr. Obama wants to make clear to Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan is not "open-ended."

The president's call for revisions comes as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, has expressed serious reservations about sending additional troops to the country, Voice of America reports.

It was also reported, the US ambassador to Afghanistan has dramatically intervened in the debate about troop reinforcements, warning President Obama against committing tens of thousands of extra troops to the country.

Karl Eikenberry, a retired army general who commanded US forces in Afghanistan from 2005-2007, detailed his concerns in two classified cables last week.

Mr Eikenberry's concerns reportedly focused on the behaviour of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president recently re-elected for a five-year term in a poll tainted by allegations of systematic fraud. He is said to have questioned Mr Karzai's suitability as a long-term strategic partner.

The warning has reportedly infuriated General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato and US commander in Afghanistan, who had asked for an extra 40,000 troops to avert a looming military defeat, Times Online reports.

Meanwhile, Obama's concerns "could alter the dynamic of both how many additional troops are sent to Afghanistan and what timeline would be for their presence in the war zone," the official said.

"The key sticking points appear to be timelines and mounting questions about the credibility of the Afghan government," the official said.

The president is also trying to establish an exit strategy before committing to sending a significant number of U.S. troops.

Obama wants to "make it clear that the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended," administration officials said. "After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time to ensure a successful transition to our Afghan partner," another senior administration official said, CNN reports.

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