WASHINGTON — The United States ambassador to Afghanistan, who once served as the top American military commander there, has expressed in writing his reservations about deploying additional troops to the country, three senior American officials said Wednesday.
The position of the ambassador, Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired lieutenant general, puts him in stark opposition to the current American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who has asked for 40,000 more troops.
General Eikenberry sent his reservations to Washington in a cable last week, the officials said. In that same period, President Obama and his national security advisers have begun examining an option that would send relatively few troops to Afghanistan, about 10,000 to 15,000, with most designated as trainers for the Afghan security forces.
This low-end option was one of four alternatives under consideration by Mr. Obama and his war council at a meeting in the White House Situation Room on Wednesday afternoon. The other three options call for troop levels of around 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000, the three officials said.
Mr. Obama asked General Eikenberry about his concerns during the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, and raised questions about each of the four military options and how they might be tinkered with or changed. A central focus of Mr. Obama’s questions, officials said, was how long it would take to see results and be able to withdraw