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General wants wife in Afghanistan if he becomes ambassador

  • Story Highlights
  • Karl Eikenberry awaits Senate confirmation to be next ambassador to Afghanistan
  • If approved, Eikenberry wants to take his wife with him
  • But that request could collide with State Department rules
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By Charley Keyes
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As a career military officer, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry is familiar with sacrifice for his country and long stretches away from home.

Karl Eikenberry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee March 26.

Karl Eikenberry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee March 26.

But he apparently doesn't want any more separation from his wife, Ching Eikenberry.

If he is approved as the next U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan he wants her to come with him.

That could collide with State Department rules. Afghanistan is designated "an unaccompanied post" by the department because of the dangers of the war and terror attacks. That means family members are not allowed.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, who as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee was running Eikenberry's confirmation hearing last week, was in favor of the idea.

"I know you are hoping to take your wife there with you, and I think I certainly, and I think the committee is entirely supportive," Kerry said. "I think it would be a terrific message and a strong boost of morale for the Embassy, and obviously wherever possible we should try to encourage that. So I hope that will be facilitated."

Said Eikenberry, "Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for that support."

There was no immediate reaction from the State Department.

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