Reporting Afghanistan

John Wendle

shortfall in civilian surge

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Thousands of American troops are setting up combat outposts throughout Afghanistan. But in order to rebuild the country, U.S. civilian experts in fields such as farming, irrigation and the rule of law are needed.

And those experts aren’t arriving in Afghanistan quickly enough, analysts say.

When soldier-turned-diplomat Karl Eikenberry was the commanding general in Afghanistan in 2007, he would often ask his field commanders: “If you had a choice right now of getting 100 more infantrymen or 10 agricultural experts, which would it be?”

“Nine times out of 10, the answer would be 10 agricultural experts,” Eikenberry recalled to NPR in a recent interview.

Now, Eikenberry is the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. But U.S. commanders are still waiting for those agricultural experts.


“The military is very realistic about a ‘surge’ in civilian resources,” says Andrew Exum, a retired Army officer and defense analyst who recently returned from Afghanistan.

In this instance, “realistic” means those civilian experts aren’t expected any time soon.

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Written by johnwendle

August 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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