Joe Biden in Kabul: Surprise High-Level Meetings

Joe Biden is in Kabul, Afghanistan for a round of “high-level” meetings, to include the introduction of Special Envoy Frank Ruggiero (acting), temporarily replacing Richard C. Holbrooke who died on December 13, 2010.

Joe Biden

Afghan officials meanwhile continue to push for more authority over how the war is fought and how billions of dollars of foreign aid is spent. Karzai supports a less intrusive U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, and has pushed to curtail inflammatory Special Operations forces night raids and reduce civilian casualties. He also wants his country to benefit from development projects and not just serve as a battlefield against terrorism.

U.S. military officials are waiting until spring, when the Taliban fighting season typically resumes, before drawing firmer conclusions about how much they’ve disrupted the insurgency and whether the Afghan government has stepped into the gap.

The BBC reports that Biden is on the scene to “discuss US help in Afghanistan’s reconstruction.” Seems “reconstruction” is a bit premature with the war still raging:

Gen McKiernan told Mr Biden that more helicopters, engineers, military police and other “additional enablers” would be needed for the thousands of extra US expected in Afghanistan later this year, said US military spokesman Col Greg Julian.

“As we expand in the south we will need those additional enablers to cover for the troops,” the Associated Press quoted Col Julian as saying.