In Seattle Talk, Former Ambassador to Afghanistan Explains Strategy to Combat Extremism in ‘Fragile States’


An SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) fighter looks over seized ISIL weapons
An SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) fighter looks over seized ISIL weapons that were found in the last stronghold of the extremist group as they were displayed at an SDF base on March 22, 2019 outside Al Mayadin, Syria.
Photo credit: 
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

By Hal Benton, Seattle Times staff reporter

Karl Eikenberry is a retired Army officer whose two tours of Afghanistan duty — and later service as ambassador to that nation — left him keenly aware of the limits of U.S. military power.

As a soldier, Eikenberry launched the still-ongoing effort to build an Afghan military force capable of fending off the Taliban. As a diplomat, he was stationed at the Kabul embassy during President Barack Obama’s surge that would eventually push American troop strength in Afghanistan to more than 100,000 service members in an attempt to improve security.

“Americans and the world have rightly been disappointed with the results of our costly military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 21st century. Hugely expensive, protracted … and damaging to our country’s prestige abroad,” Eikenberry said Thursday to a Town Hall audience in Seattle.

Read the full article in The Seattle Times.