News Column

Obama Names Envoy for Afghanistan, Pakistan

May 3, 2013

US President Barack Obama has named veteran diplomat James Dobbins as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the State Department announced Friday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to tell them about the appointment, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

The posting "clearly reaffirms this government's commitment to the key national security priority of ensuring Afghanistan and Pakistan are secure, stable and prosperous nations," Ventrell said.

Dobbins, 70, has a deep and long understanding of the region and the relationships there, Ventrell said. Dobbins has handled difficult diplomatic assignments in Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia.

Among the issues he will face are a frayed relationship between Washington and Islamabad and an American military presence now being reduced in Afghanistan in preparation for a planned 2014 US exit.

Dobbins was the first US envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. The career diplomat represented the US at the 2001 Bonn conference, which established the new Afghan government, and reopened the US embassy in Kabul that same year.

Dobbins is a former assistant secretary of state for European affairs and ambassador to the European Union. His is current director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Centre.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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