WASHINGTON: America’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan(SRAP) Richard Olson retired on Tuesday, leaving a question mark on the future of the position that was created by the outgoing Obama administration in 2009.
“He has brought extraordinary experience and leadership to the job,” US Secretary of StateJohn Kerry said in a statement. There has been no announcement yet of Olson’s replacement.
A decision on future of the position has been left to the Trump administration, which will start working on January 20, 2017. The late ambassador Richard Holbrook was the first SRAP.
“He (Olson) has played an invaluable role in consolidating the progress Afghanistan has made over the past 15 years, including the pursuit of an Afghan-led reconciliation process,” Kerry said.
His commitment to fostering a strong and productive relationship with Pakistan had been a testament to his unwavering diplomatic service, said the outgoing Secretary of State.
In a statement, Kerry described Olson as one of the most distinguished diplomats, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who has been on the forefront of American work in the Middle East, Africa, and most recently in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We need to look no further than his broad range of assignments to understand Ambassador Olson’s lasting impact on US diplomacy,” he said.
“In over 34 years of distinguished service, he has served as US ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, coordinating director for development and economic affairs at US Embassy in Kabul…”
He held positions in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Iraq, NATO, as well as a number of leadership positions here in Washington, Kerry said. -Pajhwok
THE PASHTUN TIMES