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U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Is Set to Leave This Summer

Posted by The Agonist on May 22nd, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Alissa J. Rubin | Kabul | May 22

NYT – The leading American diplomat in Afghanistan, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, will leave his post this summer after less than a year, an American Embassy spokesman said Tuesday.

“The ambassador has with regret confirmed that he is going to be stepping down,” said the spokesman, John Rhatigan, who is based in Kabul.

Mr. Crocker, who had originally said he expected to serve for two years, played a central role in negotiating a difficult strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan despite months of crisis and deep tension over night raids and the American detention of Afghan detainees. Both of those issues had to be worked through, in the form of side deals, before the partnership agreement could be signed on May 1. That broader deal charted a continuing relationship between the two countries for the next decade.

The pending departure of Mr. Crocker is likely to influence the timetable for appointing a new commander for the Afghanistan mission, as well, Pentagon and military officials say.

The current senior officer in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen of the Marine Corps, is expected to be named commander of NATO forces, which includes leading the American military’s European Command.

Jeez, I hope this doesn’t inflame Afghanistan’s fear of abandonment…

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