New US envoy on Afghanistan, Pakistan named

Published: February 19, 2011

Retired diplomat Marc Grossman, pictured, is a veteran from the State Department. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK: Veteran diplomat Marc Grossman was officially named Friday as the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, tasked with smoothing out two of the most complicated US relationships.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Grossman’s appointment to succeed Richard Holbrooke, a legendary negotiator who suddenly died on December 13 of a torn aorta at age 69.

Grossman “knows our allies and understands how to mobilize common action to meet shared challenges,” Clinton said in a speech in Holbrooke’s memory at the Asia Society in New York.

“I am absolutely confident in his ability to hit the ground running,” Clinton said.

Grossman served at the US embassy in Pakistan from 1977 to 1979 and rose steadily through the ranks of the US Foreign Service. He assisted Holbrooke in the Dayton peace talks that ended the Bosnian war.

Grossman served as undersecretary of state for political affairs — the top position for a career diplomat — from 2001 to 2005, when he faced the tough challenge of mending US relationships overseas during the Iraq war.

Grossman has also been US ambassador to Turkey. Since retirement from the Foreign Service, he has been vice chairman of the Cohen Group, a business consultancy founded by former defense secretary William Cohen.

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