WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden has nominated Donald Blome as ambassador to Pakistan. The announcement comes after a three-year hiatus as Washington looks forward to coordinate with Islamabad on the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of American troops in August.
Donald Armin Blome, currently ambassador to Tunisia, is the nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the White House said. Donald Blome is a career diplomat who has worked at key positions in the Middle East region for over 2 decades, foreign media reported on Wednesday.
After Ambassador David Hale left Islamabad, the US mission in Pakistan was headed by Paul W Jones as charge d'Affaires. Angela Aggeler took charge as the acting Charge d'Affaires in Islamabad after Jones completed his two-year tenure in 2020. William Edward Bill Todd was earlier nominated by the Trump administration to be the next ambassador to Pakistan. However, the nomination was called off as he was unable to complete necessary formalities.
Blome is fluent in Arabic. Previously, he had been posted as Chargé d’Affaires at the Libya External Office in Tunis, Consul General at U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, and Director, Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs at the US Department of State.
He has also served as Political Counsellor, Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Earlier in his career, Blome served as the Civilian Co-Director, Multinational Force Strategic Engagement Cell, Baghdad, Political Counsellor, Embassy Kuwait, and as Israel Desk Officer, Deputy Director and Acting Director, Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, the who brokered the peace deal between the United States and the Taliban, meanwhile, has stepped down and replaced by veteran American diplomat Thomas West, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said.
“As Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad steps down from his role. I extend my gratitude for his decades of service to the American people,” Blinken said. Thomas West, who previously served as the Deputy Special Representative, will be the Special Representative for Afghanistan, he said.
West, who earlier served on the Vice President’s national security team and the National Security Council staff, will lead diplomatic efforts, advise the Secretary and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and coordinate closely with the US.
In his resignation letter, according to Politico, Khalilzad said, “The political arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban did not go forward as envisaged. The reasons for this are too complex and I will share my thoughts in the coming days and weeks."