Kerry Appoints Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Obama administration has tapped former EU Ambassador James Dobbins to take over as the next Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Richard Holbrooke was the first to hold the position created by President Obama. After Holbrooke died in 2010, former ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman took the job. Grossman resigned in December.

Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND Corp., "has deep and longstanding relationships in the region and I couldn’t be more grateful that Jim has agreed to take on this assignment," said Secretary of State John Kerry.

Dobbins was the first diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. He represented the United States at the Bonn Conference that established the new Afghan Government, and he raised the flag over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul when it reopened in 2001.

"Jim is one of our nation’s most accomplished diplomats and will bring all of his considerable expertise and experience to bear as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan," Kerry said.

"Given my own history with both countries, and players throughout the region, identifying the right person for this position was a key priority," the secretary added.

A member of Congress told PJM this week that Kerry briefings inevitably see the long-winded secretary turning the subject to himself.

"I never thought I'd long for Hillary Clinton," the member quipped.