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12 November 2009 

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Reports: US Ambassador to Kabul Expresses Caution About More Troops

12 November 2009

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan has reportedly expressed in writing his concerns about deploying additional American troops to the country. Media reports quote U.S. officials as saying the ambassador is deeply concerned about Afghan government corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise.

US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (Oct 2009 file photo)
US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (Oct 2009 file photo)
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry has previously expressed his reservations regarding corruption in Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government.

But speaking to VOA by phone a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, John Groch, refused to comment on media reports regarding Ambassador Eikenberry's feelings on sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Groch says the ambassador is committed to supporting the new Afghan government.

"It is his anticipation that the Afghans are going to come to expect more from their government, expect clean and competent leadership from their government," the ambassador said. "And we want to support the Afghan government for the end of meeting those commitments and delivering those things to the Afghan people."

A spokesman for President Karzai also refused to comment on the media reports.

Eikenberry was the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007. He became the ambassador to the country earlier this year, after retiring from the military.

His reported position on additional troops puts him at odds with the top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal., who has recommended 40,000 more troops, which would boost the U.S. commitment in the country to more than 100,000.

The White House says President Barack Obama is considering four options, which range from following General McChrystal's advice to sending as few as 10,000 to 15,000 troops.

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