US to name new envoy for Pakistan, Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce retired diplomat Marc Grossman as the new U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, senior White House officials said on Monday.

Grossman will fill the gap left by Richard Holbrooke after his sudden death in December, a vacancy the Obama administration has taken its time to fill because of the deteriorating situations in both countries.

Grossman is currently vice chairman of the Cohen Group, a Washington-based consulting group headed by former U.S. defense secretary and senator William Cohen.

Between 2001 and 2005, Grossman served as U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, according to his biography on the Cohen Group’s website.

He was assistant secretary of state for European affairs in the three years before that, and between 1994 and 1997 he was the U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

The CNN reported that last July, Grossman penned a report for The German Marshall Fund for the United States in which he spoke positively of a plan to turn Afghanistan’s extensive opium poppy fields directly into green biofuel, saying counter-narcotics goals and environmental concerns could be matched by such a project.

While serving under President George W. Bush, Grossman gained headlines in 2002 when he criticized the then-proposed International Criminal Court as “an institution of unchecked power.”