Grossman resigns as US Special envoy to Pak-Afghan

WASHINGTON: Senior diplomat Marc Grossman has resigned as the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, effective Dec. 14, sources said.

Grossman, who had previously served as undersecretary for political affairs, assistant secretary for Europe and ambassador to Turkey, was persuaded to put a second career at the Cohen Group on hold to take the SRAP position afterRichard C. Holbrooke, who had inaugurated the job, died in December 2010.

The SRAP job is one of several senior envoy positions the Obama administration created to coordinate particularly vexing diplomatic challenges that spanned several countries.

Grossman, who plans to return to private life, will be replaced in an acting capacity by his current deputy, David D. Pearce. Before moving to the SRAP office early this year, Pearce served as assistant chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and was ambassador to Algeria.

Grossman was also part of the back channel negotiations with the Taliban. Those talks though came unstuck over, among other issues, the transfer of five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay to relatively relaxed confinement in Qatar.

The spokesperson added that Ambassador Grossman’s work has helped set the conditions for a peace process in Afghanistan, that would enable Afghans to talk to each other in efforts to reach a negotiated settlement.