U.S. Envoy's Cables Show Concerns on Afghan War Plans - Eric Schmitt, New York Times.
The United States ambassador in Kabul warned his superiors here in November that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan "is not an adequate strategic partner" and "continues to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden," according to a classified cable that offers a much bleaker accounting of the risks of sending additional American troops to Afghanistan than was previously known.
The broad outlines of two cables from the ambassador, Karl W. Eikenberry, became public within days after he sent them, and they were portrayed as having been the source of significant discussion in the White House, heightening tensions between diplomats and senior military officers, who supported an increase of 30,000 American troops.
But the full cables, obtained by The New York Times, show for the first time just how strongly the current ambassador felt about the leadership of the Afghan government, the state of its military and the chances that a troop buildup would actually hurt the war effort by making the Karzai government too dependent on the United States...
More at The New York Times.
Britain, Japan to Help Reintegrate Taliban Foot Soldiers - Karen DeYoung, Washington Post.
Britain and Japan have agreed to head an international fund, expected to total up to $500 million over the next five years, as part of a broad plan to help lure Taliban fighters away from the insurgency with the promise of jobs, protection against retaliation, and the removal of their names from lists of U.S. and NATO targets.
Establishment of the fund will be announced Thursday at a high-level international conference on Afghanistan in London, according to U.S. and British officials. Representatives from nearly 70 nations, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, will attend.
The fund will help support a proposal by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to be announced at the conference, to begin the reintegration of low-level fighters. Karzai will also outline his strategy for reconciliation with amenable insurgent leaders...
More at The Washington Post.