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WASHINGTON: David Hale, the US ambassador to Pakistan from 2015-18, says that bringing about the release of an American citizen, Caitlan Coleman and her family, from captivity was one of the most memorable moments of his long career.

On Monday, the US State Department announced that Mr Hale is among those four American diplomats who have been promoted to the rank of a Career Ambas­sador.

This is the highest rank in the US diplomacy and is equal to a four-star general in the military.

The other three are Philip Goldberg, Charge d’Affaires ad interim at the US Embassy in Cuba, Michele Sison, US Ambassador to Haiti, and Daniel Smith, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research.

Mr Hale is currently the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

“I led a team effort in Pakistan that successfully seized an opportunity to bring about the release and return home of an American citizen, Caitlan Coleman, and her family,” said Mr Hale when asked to define the most memorable moment of his career.

He also recalled how he helped achieve the return to the US of a young American mother and her infant son after an auto accident killed her Jordanian husband. His parents wanted to take custody of the baby, and the authorities were on their side.

“I negotiated for over a week a hard, but amicable separation and the return of two Americans to our country,” said Mr Hale, who was the US ambassador to Jordan 2005-08.

Ms Sison, who also served in Islamabad as the deputy chief of mission in 1990s, recalled visiting the Gandhara archaeological site in Taxila as one of the most incredible places she has visited as a US diplomat.

Ambassador Goldberg said the most memorable period of his career was serving as a member of the negotiating teams that ended the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990’s.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018