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Eikenberry, the top U.S. envoy to Kabul, is a prominent voice among those advising Obama, and his sharp dissent is sure to affect the equation. He retired from the Army this year to become one of the few generals in American history to switch directly from soldier to diplomat, and he himself is a recent, former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Eikenberry's cables raise deep concern about the viability of the Karzai government, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with them who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified documents. Other administration officials raised the same misgivings in describing Obama's hesitancy to accept any of the options before him in their current form.
The options presented to Obama by his war council will now be amended.
Military officials say one approach is a compromise battle plan that would add 30,000 or more U.S. forces atop a record 68,000 in the country now. They described it as "half and half," meaning half fighting and half training and holding ground so the Afghans can regroup.
The White House says Obama has not made a final choice, though military and other officials have said he appears near to approving a slightly smaller increase than the war commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal
wants at the outset.