Crocker to quit in mid-summer for health reasons
“Ambassador Ryan Crocker confirmed to the Afghan government, US Mission in Afghanistan and the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) community that he intends to depart his post for health reasons in mid-summer, following the Kabul and Tokyo conferences,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
The Kabul conference will be held in June, followed by the Tokyo donor’s meet scheduled in July. Nuland said the health reason had nothing to do with the ambassador's heavy workload in Kabul.
“But we simply wanted and he wanted to make it clear that this should not in any way be seen as a lessening of his personal commitment and our national commitment to Afghanistan. I think his heart will always be a little bit in Afghanistan. But obviously, he is not leaving yet, he is going to stay on the job through the Tokyo conference,” she added.
No decision had been taken on the 62-year-old Crocker’s successor yet and his deputy James Cunningham is an interim arrangement.
“Ambassador Crocker’s tenure has been marked by enormous achievements -- Bonn Conference, conclusion of the Strategic Partnership Agreement and the two Memorandums of Understanding on detentions and special operations, and the Chicago NATO Summit.”
In a joint statement, Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham called Crocker’s departure a great loss to the US and Afghanistan. “We are grateful beyond words to Ryan for his decision to come out of retirement at the president’s request to serve our country one last time in one of the most challenging jobs in the world.
“When the history of the past decade is written, Ryan Crocker will rightly be recognised as one of the genuine American heroes of this era. We have never met a finer, more capable, or more dedicated diplomat than Ryan Crocker,” the senators said.
They said Crocker arrived in Afghanistan at a critical moment in relations between the two countries. “Thanks to his efforts, we believe that the Afghan-US relationship is now on a much better path. In the last year, Crocker and General Allen, working with our Afghan and NATO partners, successfully negotiated a Strategic Partnership Agreement.”
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