Karl Eikenberry is the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (retired). He is a faculty member of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University and is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination at Princeton University.

Previously, he was the Director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University.

Prior to his arrival at Stanford, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 until 2011. Before appointment as Chief of Mission in Kabul, Ambassador Eikenberry had a 35-year career in the United States Army, retiring in April 2009 with the rank of lieutenant general. His military operational posts included commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental U.S., Hawaii, Korea, Italy, and Afghanistan as the Commander of the American-led Coalition forces. He held various policy and political-military positions, including Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium; Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Hawaii; U.S. Security Coordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kabul, Afghanistan; and Assistant Army and later Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing, China.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has earned Master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Ambassador Eikenberry earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China.

Last Updated: May 18, 2020

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