Lying vacant since August 2018, the envoy post requires Senate confirmation before Blome can take charge
U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated career diplomat Donald Blome to serve as America’s next ambassador to Pakistan after a gap of three years during which Washington’s diplomatic mission in Islamabad was led by a charge d’affaires.
David Hale, the last U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, left Islamabad in August 2018, shortly after the formation of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government. After Hale’s exit, Paul W. Jones took charge of the U.S. mission in Pakistan as charge d’affaires. He left Pakistan in August 2020, with incumbent Angela Aggeler serving as charge d’affaires in Islamabad since then.
Blome’s nomination was announced by the White House. He is currently serving as the ambassador of the U.S. in Tunisia and is a career Foreign Service diplomat. This isn’t his first time serving in the South Asian region, having previously worked at the Kabul embassy, which shuttered its operations earlier this year after the Taliban took over Afghanistan from the West-backed government of Ashraf Ghani.
Earlier in his career, Blome served as the civilian co-director of the Multinational Force Strategic Engagement Cell in Baghdad; the political counselor at the Embassy in Kuwait; and as Israel desk officer, deputy director and acting director at the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.
His nomination to head the U.S. embassy in Pakistan comes as the world reels from the rapid pace at which the Taliban ousted the West-backed government in Kabul. Since the events of Aug. 15, Pakistan has been playing a major role in urging the global community to remain engaged with the Taliban or risk allowing the country to once again become a haven for militant groups.
International agencies, in recent weeks, have warned that Afghanistan is on the verge of humanitarian collapse if it is not granted access to aid or foreign reserves, which remain frozen in the United States.
Blome’s nomination would now be placed before the U.S. Senate, which must confirm him before he can take charge as the next ambassador. The Donald Trump administration had, in its final days in office, nominated William Edward Bill Todd as the ambassador for Pakistan. However, he could not be confirmed by the Senate and his nomination was eventually withdrawn.