Obama names new ambassadors to Afghan, Pak
Almost two month after the incumbents resigned, Obama nominated James B Cunningham as the new US Ambassador to Afghanistan; and Richard G Olson as the new envoy to Pakistan. However, both need to be confirmed by the United States Senate before they can be sworn in for their new Ambassadorial postings.
The yesterday`s move comes at a time of transition in war-torn Afghanistan and Washington`s ongoing friction with Pakistan. "I am grateful that these talented and dedicated men and women have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," Obama said in a statement as he announced more than a dozen key administration posts including these two diplomatic positions.
Olson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at the US Embassy in Kabul from June 2011 to June 2012.
He previously served as US Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011 and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Brussels from 2006 to 2008.
Cunningham is currently the Deputy Ambassador at the US Embassy in Kabul. Prior to his post in Kabul, Cunningham served as the US Ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2011. From 2005 to 2008, he was US Consul General in Hong Kong.
Cunningham`s previous assignments include: Ambassador and Deputy US Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999-2004); Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Rome (1996-1999); Director of the State Department`s Office of European Security and Political Affairs (1993-1995); and Chief of Staff to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary General (1989-1990).
Earlier assignments include posts with the US Mission to NATO, as well as posts at the US Embassies in Rome and Stockholm.