US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Mark Grossman steps down

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 9:50:55 by

In yet another shake-up of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team, the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman has resigned from his post, a report said. The resignation will be effective from December 14.


Mark Grossman will be replaced in an acting capacity by his current deputy, David D. Pearce, The Washington Post reported. Special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) is one of the important positions the administration of US President Barack Obama created to coordinate particularly vexing diplomatic challenges that spanned several countries.


Grossman, who is planning to return to private life, was named Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan by Obama on February 22, 2011, replacing the late Richard Holbrooke.


State department spokesperson Laura Lucas while speaking to the media said, “After almost two years in the position, and with Secretary Clinton’s agreement, Grossman will return to private life. The secretary thanks the Ambassador for his efforts to help create the diplomatic surge that Secretary Clinton laid out in her 2011 speech at the Asia Society.


The spokesperson added that Ambassador Grossman’s work has helped set the conditions for a peace process in Afghanistan that would enable Afghans to talk to each other in efforts to reach a negotiated settlement.


He further stated, “This has been a major line of effort in support of the President’s objectives to disrupt and defeat al Qaeda and ensure that Afghanistan can no longer become a safe haven for terrorists. Under Ambassador Grossman’s leadership, the United States also has worked to build a relationship with Pakistan based on identifying our shared interests and acting on them jointly.”


During his time as special envoy to the region, Grossman oversaw a particularly difficult period in Pakistan’s relations with both the US and with Afghanistan. The special envoy had spearheaded US’ efforts to secure international funding and a long term commitment to Afghanistan in the Bonn and Tokyo conferences.


Grossman was also part of the back channel negotiations with the Taliban. Those talks though came unstuck over, among other issues, the transfer of five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay to relatively relaxed confinement in Qatar.

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