Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wire: Obama Plans to Deploy Large Civilian Force to Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2009 -- In a breaking news story published Wednesday afternoon, The Washington Post reported that hundreds of additional U.S. diplomats and civilian officials would be deployed to Afghanistan as part of the new civil-military regional strategy that President Obama's top national security advisers plan to present for his signature next week, according to administration officials.
Leading this proposed civilian expansion will be two veteran senior diplomats: Peter W. Galbraith, who will be the deputy to the top United Nations official on the ground; and Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., who will get the unprecedented title of "deputy ambassador" to boost the diplomatic heft of the U.S. Embassy. Obama last week nominated Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the former U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, as the country's ambassador.

Other civilian officials are to be drawn from government departments such as Agriculture and Justice, and hundreds of new "full-time, temporary" positions are planned under a hiring program authorized by President George W. Bush four days before he left office.

The proposal for a civilian surge is part of a broad strategy review regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan that Obama ordered during its first weeks in office. The review has culminated in an intense series of high-level meetings and discussion of proposals from across the government, including from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the State Department effort headed by special Afghanistan-Pakistan envoy Richard C. Holbrooke.
This is a developng story.

More to follow.

(Report from a commercial news source.)

Source: Hundreds of New Civilian Employees Proposed for Afghanistan

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