(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry Friday selected a new Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ambassador James F. Dobbins will take over the post to replace Ambassador Marc I. Grossman, who retired last year.
Kerry said Friday in a statement that his selection of Dobbins comes at a critical transitioning time for the region. Pakistan, he said, will mark an “important and historic democratic transition,” with elections to take place within days.
The secretary added that “identifying the right person for this position was a key priority,” given Kerry’s own history with both countries.
Having served as the first U.S. diplomat to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, Dobbins is a veteran diplomat. He also was on hand to raise the flag over the U.S. embassy in Kabul when it reopened in 2001. Dobbins most recently served as RAND Corporation’s director of International Security and Defense Policy Center.
“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,” Sec. Kerry said of Dobbins’s appointment.
The position is not one that requires Senate confirmation.
Dobbins’s official start date in his new role has not yet been determined.
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Eric Bradner, Shimon Prokupecz and Dan Merica, CNN
Daniella Diaz, CNN