Biden nominates Middle East expert Donald Blome as new US ambassador to Pakistan

Published October 20, 2021
Donald Armin Blome is currently the US ambassador to Tunisia. — Photo via US Embassy Tunis Facebook
Donald Armin Blome is currently the US ambassador to Tunisia. — Photo via US Embassy Tunis Facebook

United States President Joe Biden is nominating Donald Armin Blome, an expert on Middle East affairs, as his new 'Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan', the White House announced on Tuesday.

Donald Armin Blome, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service belonging to the class of minister-counselor, is currently the US ambassador to Tunisia.

Prior to that, Ambassador Blome was chargé d’affaires at the Libya External Office in Tunisia, consul general at the US Consulate in Jerusalem, and director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs at the US Department of State.

He has also served as political counselor at the US Embassy in Kabul and minister-counselor for economic and political affairs at the US Embassy in Cairo. Earlier in his career, Ambassador Blome served as the civilian co-director at the Multinational Force Strategic Engagement Cell, Baghdad, political counselor at the US Embassy Kuwait, and as Israel desk officer, deputy director and acting director at the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

Ambassador Blome earned a BA and a JD from the University of Michigan. He also speaks Arabic.

His nomination follows the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which caused the collapse of the US-backed government in Kabul and forced Washington to move its diplomatic mission to Doha, Qatar.

The changes have given Pakistan a major diplomatic role in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and the United States wants Pakistan to use its influence to create space for an inclusive government in Kabul. The United States is also seeking air access to Afghanistan via Pakistan.

Pakistan appears willing to use its influence to soften the Taliban on various issues but in return it wants Washington to send immediate humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. Islamabad also urges Washington to re-establish economic ties with Kabul.

International agencies have warned that Afghanistan could face a humanitarian collapse without access to aid or foreign reserves, which remain frozen in the United States.

The US embassy in Islamabad is also expected to play a major role in limiting China’s rapidly growing political and economic influence in Pakistan.

All ambassadorial positions in the US require Senate confirmation.

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