- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

The State Department yesterday named another special envoy to deal with Afghanistan. He is James F. Dobbins, who will travel to Europe and Asia as the "U.S. ambassador to the Afghan opposition."
Mr. Dobbins "will spend the bulk of his time in the region consulting with the Afghan opposition and with concerned governments," department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.
He will work with Richard Haass, director of policy planning at State, who has already been named a special envoy to the exiled former King Mohammed Zahir Shah in Rome and other Afghan opposition groups.
Mr. Haass, who served President Bush's father during the Gulf war as a Middle East adviser, is tied up with Northern Ireland's shaky peace process and other concerns making extensive travel difficult, said a State Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Haass will still oversee planning for a future Afghanistan government to replace the Taliban regime.
Mr. Dobbins will also work with Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca.
He is one of the State Department's most experienced diplomats, Mr. Boucher said in announcing his appointment.
Mr. Dobbins served as the Clinton administration's coordinator for Haiti, overseeing the diplomatic and civil aspects of the 1994-96 intervention in which U.S. troops restored President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
In that post, he was accused by Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, of concealing human rights abuses by the restored Aristide government.
In part due to the lingering resentment over the Haiti policy, Mr. Dobbins became one of several Clinton administration appointees to diplomatic positions who failed to win confirmation in the Senate.
He spent six months in limbo before Mr. Clinton used the opportunity of a Senate recess to appoint Mr. Dobbins as assistant secretary of state for European affairs. He was sworn in on Jan. 4, 2001, just before the new administration came in and he lost his post.
Mr. Dobbins has also served as the department's senior manager for peace operations in Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Somalia.


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