Diplomats in Kabul have long complained of a political 'vacuum', while Washington concentrated on a military surge initiated by President Barack Obama in late 2009.
That military surge included sending an additional 30,000 U.S. troops, who Washington says have helped U.S. and other NATO forces make significant gains and arrest a growing insurgency since the last of the extra forces arrived in mid-2010.
General David Petraeus, commander of the 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, will also return to Washington as part of a major security overhaul.
Petraeus is the architect of the counterinsurgency strategy military commanders and political leaders say is starting to have a significant impact on a once-faltering campaign.
But diplomatic progress has lagged behind perceived military successes, with current Ambassador Karl Eikenberry having a difficult relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai."