Obama AfPak advisor may help unwind the war from NATO

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Douglas Lute, who has served for the past eight years as both the Bush and Obama White House Afpak ‘war czar,” looks set to get a plum assignment helping guide the wind-down of the US-led war in Afghanistan: US Ambassador to NATO.

Two US officials say Lute, a retired Army Ltn. General, is likely to be tapped for the Brussels job, succeeding Ivo Daalder, who previously announced he will step down this summer to head the Chicago Council on World Affairs.

(The Back Channel reported Tuesday that Lute may be up for Special Envoy to AfPak (SRAP), but we appear to have been off. Brussels-based reporter Teri Schulz first alerted us on Twitter that word is Lute may be headed there.)

One US official said Wednesday that Lute, asked about the NATO job, at some point wasn’t certain if his family could relocate abroad. But Lute’s spouse, Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Jane Holl Lute, announced earlier this month she is stepping down.

Lute didn’t respond to a query from the Back Channel. A NSC spokeswoman declined to comment: “No personnel announcements for you.”

In other personnel RUMINT, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for AfPak David Sedney is expected to depart, a former colleague tells the Back Channel, saying it’s not clear yet who might succeed him. At State, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Masha Yovanovich is expected to get a posting at a US war college.

Secretary of State John Kerry, meantime, held a three-way meeting in Brussels Wednesday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani General Parvez Kayani, emerging to give a statement afterward that suggested it had been rough.

“We depart this meeting, each of us, with some very specific homework to do,” Kerry said. “I think that everybody here agreed today that we will continue a very specific dialogue on both the political track as well as the security track… And all of us agreed we are committed to try to find stability and peace within both countries and the region itself.”

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  1. Pingback: Jim Dobbins for SRAP | The Back Channel

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