WASHINGTON — Ambassador James Dobbins will be US President Barack Obama’s next Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the State Department announced Friday.
Dobbins was heavily involved with the creation of a new government in Afghanistan after US military action in 2001, and even raised the flag over the US Embassy after its reopening in December of that year. Dobbins has been serving as the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center, Rand National Defense Research Institute.
“This morning I called leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to tell them that Ambassador James F. Dobbins has agreed to serve as the next Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement released by the agency. “He has deep and longstanding relationships in the region and I couldn’t be more grateful that Jim has agreed to take on this assignment.”
Dobbins succeeds Ambassador Marc Grossman, who stepped down at the end of 2012.
“It’s a great appointment because here’s a guy who was in at the beginning, he’s studied this and written about it ever since, and he comes really prepared,” Grossman said.
The role will take on heightened importance as the US military draws down its force in the region and diplomatic efforts become the primary means to shape the future of the two countries. Both face continued security challenges, primarily from militant groups in the mountainous region that separates the two countries.
“Given my own history with both countries, and players throughout the region, identifying the right person for this position was a key priority,” Kerry said. “Jim will continue building on diplomatic efforts to bring the conflict to a peaceful conclusion, actively engaging with states in the region and the international community.”