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NOBAMA: Top Afghanistan Envoy Cables White House That None Of The Plans On The Table Are Workable

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WASHINGTON POST: Karl W. Eikenberry’s memos, sent as President Obama enters the final stages of his deliberations over a new Afghanistan strategy, illustrated both the difficulty of the decision and the deepening divisions within the administration’s national security team. After a top-level meeting on the issue Wednesday afternoon — Obama’s eighth since early last month — the White House issued a statement that appeared to reflect Eikenberry’s concerns. “The President believes that we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open-ended,” the statement said. “After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time.” On the eve of his nine-day trip to Asia, Obama was given a series of options laid out laid out by military planners with differing numbers of new U.S. deployments, ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 troops. None of the scenarios calls for scaling back the U.S. presence in Afghanistan or delaying the dispatch of additional troops. In addition to placing the Karzai problem prominently on the table, the cables from Eikenberry, a retired four-star general who in 2006-2007 commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan, have rankled his former colleagues in the Pentagon — as well as Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, defense officials said. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has stated that without the deployment of an additional tens of thousands of troops within the next year, the mission there “will likely result in failure.” MORE

RELATED: Welcome to the wartime contracting bazaar in Afghanistan. It is a virtual carnival of improbable afghanistan6_1.jpgcharacters and shady connections, with former CIA officials and ex-military officers joining hands with former Taliban and mujahedeen to collect US government funds in the name of the war effort. In this grotesque carnival, the US military’s contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes. It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. “It’s a big part of their income,” one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents. MORE

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