Cameron Munter, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, said he will resign from his post this summer after less than two years on the job, amidst worsening relations between Washington and Islamabad.
The Washington Post reported that Munter announced his resignation to his staff on Monday. Although ambassadors typically serve three years on each tour, Munter’s sudden resignation is apparently not the result of any policy disputes, either with the Obama administration or with Pakistani officials.
The Post noted that Munter wasn’t viewed as a “good fit” for the Pakistan job. He had served previously in Bonn, Prague, Warsaw, Belgrade and Baghdad.
A possible replacement for Munter might be Richard Olson, who has been posted in Kabul, Afghanistan, since June 2011.
The White House has not made any official announcement regarding the Munter affair.
Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Pakistan ever since U.S. commandos found and killed al Qaeda chieftain Osama bin Laden in a compound near the Pakistani capital a year ago. That incident raised suspicions in the U.S. that Pakistan’s military and intelligence network have been protecting and harboring the very militants they are supposed to be fighting against.
On the other side, Pakistan is gravely concerned about the U.S. military’s practice of launching drone strikes on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan because they kill too many innocent civilians
Relations plunged to an all-time low last November when a strike by U.S. forces accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the border, lead Islamabad to close NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.
Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Bahrain and Algeria, and the current president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, told Reuters: When two governments understand one another as poorly as those in Washington and Islamabad do, the interpretive abilities of a good ambassador become paramount.”
The Post commented that an improved relationship with Pakistan will be crucial if President Barack Obama wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan in a timely manner over the next two years.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.