WASHINGTON: US 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.

Donald Armin Blome, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counsellor, is currently serving as US ambassador to Tunisia.

Prior to that, Amb Blome was chargé d’affaires at the Libya External Office in Tunisia, Consul General at the US Consulate in Jerusa­lem, and Director, Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs, at the US Department of State.

He has also worked as political counsellor, at the US Embassy in Kabul and Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Cairo. Earlier, Mr Blome served as the civilian co-director, multinational force strategic engagement cell, Baghdad, political counsellor, Embassy of Kuwait, and as Israel Desk Officer, deputy director and acting director, Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

Ambassador Blome ear­ned a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He 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 stance 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.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2021

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