U.S Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker recently announced that he will be stepping down from his post this summer, after serving for less than a year. Crocker, 62, cited health reasons for his departure. The ambassador’s departure comes amidst growing concerns regarding the commencement of a new phase in the U.S-Afghanistan relationship marked by NATO withdrawal and Afghan forces gearing up to take responsibility for not only their security but also their governance. A responsible and committed withdrawal is going to be a defining point for the U.S to illustrate its investment in the ‘unwinnable war.’
The former ambassador to Iraq, came out of retirement at the behest of President Obama to lead the embassy at a time when the U.S suffered a rocky relationship with Afghanistan, as a result of leaked cables. Having already served at the embassy in 2002 and with an extensive understanding of Pakistan, Crocker was perfectly suited for the position.
His resignation comes amidst major senior diplomat changes in the region. U.S Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has also prematurely ended his term and, like Crocker, will step down in summer 2012.
The resignation of both senior diplomats has been downplayed by the State Department even though news reports quote disagreements with U.S government policies in the region. The premature departures pose a significant threat to U.S policies and interests in a region that urgently requires a committed and stable presence.