WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama has named veteran diplomat James Dobbins as his special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the announcement on May 3 in Washington, D.C. and State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell announced it to journalists.
"In the statement, Secretary Kerry says that this morning he called the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to tell them that Ambassador James F. Dobbins has agreed to serve as the next special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan," Ventrell said.
"He has a deep and long understanding of the region, deep and long understanding of the relationships in the region, and the secretary is very grateful that he has agreed to take on this position."
Dobbins, 70, has previously served as assistant secretary of state for European affairs and as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
Most recently, he has been director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center.
He has also served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as envoy to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Haiti, and Somalia.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Bush appointed Dobbins the U.S. representative to the Afghan opposition and he later participated in the process to form the post-Taliban Afghan government.
"Ambassador Dobbins was our first diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, he represented the U.S. at the Bonn Conference that established the new Afghan government, and he reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in 2001, raising the flag over our embassy," Ventrell noted.
The position of special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan was created in 2009 and filled initially by diplomat Richard Holbrooke. After Holbrooke's death in 2010, it was filled by Marc Grossman, until he stepped down in December 2012.