President Barack Obama announced Tuesday he was choosing two career diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Kabul to nominate as the new U.S. ambassadors to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
James B. Cunningham, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, was tapped by Obama take over for his outgoing boss, Ryan C. Crocker. Crocker announced he was leaving the post for health reasons after less than a year in the position.
Meanwhile, former Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Kabul Richard G. Olson was tapped by the president to take over the position of ambassador to Pakistan from Cameron Munter.
Both men, career diplomats with experience in the region, were unsurprising choices to pundits. If confirmed by the Senate, the two will take over arguably the hardest ambassadorships the United States government has to offer.
Olson will have to manage deteriorating relations with Pakistan after the unilateral U.S. raid on the Abbottabad compound of Osama bin Laden last year as well as the increasing use of drone strikes against Al Qaida militants in the Pakistani countryside.
Cunningham, likewise, will necessarily deal with any security vacuum left in the wake of the U.S. troop pullout scheduled for completion next year.
Cunningham previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel (2008 to 2011) and U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong (2005-2008).
Olson served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (2008-2011) as well as in positions in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Najaf, Iraq.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org