The Pentagon wants more control over NATO there in light of Taliban resurgence.
Thomas Schweich charges that President Karzai is protecting drug traffickers within his power base, and says the US Defense Department and some NATO allies have also resisted antiopium efforts.
Taliban attacks are up, making this the worst season since the insurgency began and spurring greater Western troop deployments.
The focus of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is largely security, but will include humanitarian work.
At the NATO meeting in Romania Thursday, Afghan officials are expected to request money to expand its National Army from 86,000 to 120,000 troops.