Burning Bridges

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is worried about the impact the recent release of cables obtained by Wikileaks will have on Washington and NATO’s relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Reporters at Canada’s National Post got their hands on a memo penned by their ambassador to Afghanistan, William Crosbie, after he met with Eikenberry. According to the memo, Eikenberry “fears that this may be the final straw in terms of Karzai’s relationship with the U.S. in particular . . . this may cause him to burn his bridges with the coalition altogether.” Eikenberry said the fallout could be “potentially cataclysmic.” Crosbie also wrote that if his “own comments become the focus of attention . . . then consideration should be given to replacing [him] so that the bilateral relationship is not unduly affected.” Apparently, the ambassador’s comments about Karzai and his family are not all that stellar.

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is also not happy about the way Washington has been handling the Wikileaks bombshell. He said that he received an apology from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but that’s not enough—“The U.S. has to hold its diplomats accountable for this.” Apparently, the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, was the largest source of leaked cables.

The secretary of state was in Kyrgyzstan for a quick visit today. She met with Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbeyeva and spoke at a press conference afterward. Clinton praised the country’s “bold endeavor” at creating a democracy. Officials in Kyrgyzstan, a key stop for troops and supplies on the way to Afghanistan, have been trying to form a government since parliamentary elections there two months ago. Leaders are close to agreeing to a ruling coalition. The previous government was pushed out of power in April and the country’s governing system has undergone an overhaul since then. Clinton was only in Kyrgyzstan briefly then left for Uzbekistan, where she is expected to touch on human-rights issues with the country’s president.