The United States Senate has approved career diplomat James Cunningham as ambassador to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a volatile country and faced with militancy and terrorism. The new ambassador is going to replace, who has stepped down from his position owing to his continuously deteriorated health. James Cunningham is a seasoned diplomat and considered perfect in his job – the job of diplomacy. He has been serving as deputy ambassador at the US embassy in Kabul since June 2011.
Cunningham has already served as the US ambassador to Israel. The diplomat has also held various senior US posts in NATO, Hong Kong and the United Nations. Members of the US Senate reposed their confidence in him with the hope that he would do something to get the US out of the mess as quickly as possible.
Afghanistan has become a quagmire for the US, as it has been around eleven years to the war on terror but still a number of terror groups linked to al-Qaeda and other militant outfits are out to operate across the violence-wracked country.
Being an ambassador to Afghanistan or Pakistan is not an easy job, as both the countries are infested with the menace of terrorism. Ryan Crocker conveyed the Obama administration in May this year that he was unable to continue the challenging job because of his ill health. He is a seasoned diplomat and has served in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq, besides Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the United States ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has also reached back home after resigning from the position this month.
Cameron Munter was also under immense pressure from the Obama administration to do more to pressurize Pakistan into accepting demands of the US. It is reported that Munter had developed differences with the bosses at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) over continued drone strikes in the tribal area of Pakistan. Munter reportedly conveyed the Obama administration that the drone strikes were counterproductive and therefore the campaign should be stopped. He had also suggested the administration to avoid confrontation with Pakistan, as the country is an important frontline ally of the US in war on terror.
Cameron Munter was a straight forward person and that’s why he had to leave the position. The new ambassador to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, may also face similar situation after his deployment, as the Obama administration and CIA bosses want to break the backbone of terrorists at any cost before pulling out troops from Afghanistan. The US plans to pull out 130,000 troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 and James Cunningham will have to look after a number of things including the smooth withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from the volatile country. So, he should land in the country with multiple tools in his kit to fix multiple problems.