As U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan, Diplomats Are Left to Fill Uncertain Mission by Lara Jakes – New York Times
It was once a sideshow to the American military in Afghanistan and later became one of the largest diplomatic missions in the world. Now, as the United States Embassy in Kabul transitions to its newest role, its future is tied to a fragile peace process, one that will withdraw American troops even as violence continues.
American diplomats in Kabul must tiptoe between two rival Afghan leaders — President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah — who have each declared themselves the winner of national elections held last fall. The United States Embassy sees helping to resolve the political dispute as a core mission, but Afghan officials have soured on the State Department and its negotiated peace agreement with the Taliban, signed last month.
President Trump has yet to nominate a new ambassador to replace John R. Bass, who left the embassy in Kabul in January. Instead, the State Department appointed a skilled but retired place-holder, Ross Wilson, to serve as the embassy’s chargé d’affaires…