Former Trustee of The Asia Foundation

Former U.S. Ambassador, Afghanistan
Lieutenant General, US Army, Retired



Karl Eikenberry is former US ambassador to Afghanistan and lieutenant general, US Army, retired.

Previously, he was director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. He was also an affiliate at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Relations Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law, Center for International Security Cooperation and The Europe Center. He joined The Asia Foundation Board of Trustees in 2012.

He was the US ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009-2011, where he led the civilian surge directed by President Obama to set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty. He previously served in the US Army, retiring as a lieutenant general in 2009. During his military career, he had extensive experience in the Asia Pacific region including two command posts in Afghanistan, serving as the director of Strategic Planning and Policy at US Pacific Command in Hawaii and defense attaché to the People’s Republic of China, and several operational assignments in Korea.

Eikenberry graduated from the United States Academy at West Point, and received a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard and a master’s degree in Political Science from Stanford. He earned the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Interpreter’s Certificate for Mandarin Chinese from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and has an advanced degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University.

Eikenberry serves as a trustee for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the American Council on Learned Societies, and the American Councils on International Education. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors. His awards include the Department of State Distinguished Service Award, Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, and the George F. Kennan Award for Distinguished Public Service.