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. 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.
This is a pivotal moment for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with interconnected political, security, and economic transitions already underway in Afghanistan, and Pakistani elections just days away, marking an important and historic democratic transition.
Given my own history with both countries, and players throughout the region, identifying the right person for this position was a key priority. 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.
Jim was our first diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. He represented the United States at the Bonn Conference that established the new Afghan Government, and he raised the flag over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul when it reopened in 2001.
Before going to the RAND Corporation as director of their International Security and Defense Policy Center, Jim was a career Foreign Service officer. While serving this country, he led the Department and U.S. Government efforts to establish greater peace, stability, and security in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, and Haiti.
Jim is one of our nation's most accomplished diplomats and will bring all of his considerable expertise and experience to bear as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
His appointment, succeeding the Ambassador Marc I. Grossman and the late Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, reaffirms this government's commitment to the key national security priority of ensuring Afghanistan and Pakistan are secure, stable, and prosperous nations.