U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry tells VOA that NATO and Afghan forces have had a “degree of success in arresting Taliban momentum,” and in many parts of the country Taliban gains have been “halted and indeed reversed.”
Ambassador Eikenberry told VOA’s Ashna TV that it has been a “difficult year” for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, but he says progress is being made in the nine year old war. Ambassador Eikenberry, a former U.S. Army Lieutenant General, said, “We have a kind of confidence as we enter next year that we may well be on the right track.”
The ambassador spoke to VOA as the White House prepares to release an assessment of the war’s progress one year after President Obama ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the country.
Ambassador Eikenberry says Washington and Kabul will continue to build on “past successes,” and he reiterated his support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who he said had led the country from its “dark days” to its current place in the international community.
In his interview, Ambassador Eikenberry also praised U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke, who died Monday. “He has been a great statesman over the course of his career, 45 years of service to government, and he has made a remarkable contribution to peace around the world.”
On WikiLeaks, Ambassador Eikenberry stressed that diplomatic cables are composed of conversations and opinions and not policy. He said the leaks are “very damaging and the U.S. will pursue and prosecute those who leak classified material.”
Ambassador Eikenberry’s entire interview aired Tuesday on VOA’s Ashna TV. It is also available online at www.pashtovoa.com and at www.darivoa.com.