As Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad steps down from his role, I extend my gratitude for his decades of service to the American people.
Thomas West, who previously served as the Deputy Special Representative, will be the Special Representative for Afghanistan. Special Representative West, who served on then-Vice President Biden’s national security team and on the National Security Council staff, will lead diplomatic efforts, advise the Secretary and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and coordinate closely with the U.S. Embassy Kabul presence in Doha on America’s interests in Afghanistan.
I thank Ambassador Khalilzad for his service and welcome Special Representative West to the role.
Below is a longer bio via Carnegie where Thomas West previously served as a Nonresident Scholar for the South Asia Program:
Tom West was a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate vice president at the Cohen Group.
West served for ten years in the U.S. Department of State and at the White House, working on South Asia and Middle East issues. From 2012 to 2015, he served on the National Security Council (NSC) as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as a special adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden. He served a concurrent stint as the NSC’s director for Yemen. From 2011 to 2012, West served as the State Department’s senior diplomat in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, where he managed the civilian staff of a U.S.-led provincial reconstruction team. He worked at the State Department in Washington on a variety of issues, including the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative, Washington’s response to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and U.S.-Pakistan relations. He also served as a political officer in Islamabad and Karachi.
West received his BA in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University and an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Our story on Zalmay Khalilzad’s final day as the top US diplomat on Afghanistan, after a tumultuous 3 years, including an interview with a senior State Department official ahead of the announcement of Zal’s departure https://t.co/Uq0Atewoh4
— Nick Schifrin (@nickschifrin) October 19, 2021
U.S. Special Rep for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has resigned. Thomas West (previous Deputy Sp Rep) appointed in his place. Statement from Secretary of State Blinken@StateDept pic.twitter.com/9pMW4MmETe
— Pajhwok Afghan News (@pajhwok) October 18, 2021
Thank you to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for decades of tireless service to the United States. Pleased to welcome Thomas West to the role of Special Representative for Afghanistan. @US4AfghanPeace
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) October 18, 2021
1/5 Today, I step down from my position as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. It has been an honor to serve the American people again.
— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) October 19, 2021
This is the resignation letter of Zalmay Khalilzad as US Special Representative on Afghanistan. History won’t remember him kindly. This chapter of Afghanistan has been most brutal & disastrous for humanity. Surrendering Afghanistan to Taliban terrorists and abandoning innocents. pic.twitter.com/g9NXFKg8aA
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) October 18, 2021
Zalmay Khalilzad, President Biden’s envoy for Afghanistan and a rare Trump appointee to remain in the new administration, is departing from the government, the State Department said on Monday. https://t.co/A0yyFFM3AA
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) October 19, 2021