Ex-US official reveals war over Afghan policy

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Former US top diplomat Hillary Clinton and her staff fought “tooth and nail” to push ideas for diplomacy in Afghanistan in a bitter turf war with the White House, an ex-official says in a new book.

Vali Nasr, now dean of the PaulH. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at JohnsHopkinsUniversity, was an advisor to Richard Holbrooke, the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan until his death in 2010.

US President Barack Obama inherited the legacy of the 2001 US-invasion of Afghanistan and vowed to wind down the war when he entered the White House.

But in an excerpt from his new book, “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat,” Nasr says “my time in the Obama administration turned out to be a deeply disillusioning experience.”

Clinton, who stepped down after four years as secretary of state in January, whenever possible went directly to Obama in regular private weekly meetings which she had insisted on as a condition for taking the job.

This allowed her to get “around the so-called Berlin Wall of staffers who shielded Obama from any option or idea they did not want him to consider,” Nasr wrote in the excerpt in the online Foreign Policy magazine Monday.

“Clinton got along well with Obama, but on Afghanistan the State Department had to fight tooth and nail just to have a hearing at the White House,” he said.