US Mission Pakistan: Ambassador Munter’s Summer Departure and Is This Our Next Man in Islamabad?

The rumor mill is working fast and furious about Ambassador Cameron Munter‘s reported departure this summer from US Embassy Islamabad after a 2-year tenure.  Although his immediate two predecessors, Anne Patterson (2007-2010) and Ryan Crocker (2004–2007) both served 3-year terms in Islamabad, Nancy Powell who is now ambassador to India only served for two years (2002-2004). And previous to her, Wendy Jean Chamberlin served for less than 12 months.

The news made it to the May 8 Daily Press Briefing:

QUESTION: And on Pakistan itself, has the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan offered to resign? He is leaving the post by the end of the summer?

MR. TONER: He did, in a staff meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, announce that he’d made the personal decision to depart Pakistan this summer. This is at the conclusion of his tenure, I believe, at the end of two years, which is a perfectly normal period for an ambassador to Pakistan. I do note that Secretary Clinton did praise his efforts and his performance earlier today in an interview that she did in New Delhi and also noted that she understood his decision.

Meanwhile, CBS News citing an unnamed Pakistani foreign ministry official reports that “Pakistani authorities have been informally told that a senior diplomat from the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Afghanistan will likely take the position. […]  We understand that Richard Olson, who is a senior U.S. diplomat in Kabul and is looking after U.S. aid and economy related matters, is being actively considered for the job,” added the Pakistani foreign ministry official.

Richard Olson is US Embassy Kabul’s Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs (CDDEA) since June 2011. His bio is here. No official announcement has yet come out of the White House.

You may remember Ambassador Olson wearing a lungei during a visit to Paktika, Afghanistan  in our Headgears in the Foreign Service Round-up. That’s a perfectly nice photo; unfortunately, that photo has now been deleted from the photostream of US Embassy Kabul.

So instead, we’ll bring you a compendium of sartorial good taste. With Ambassador Olson, who may or may not be our next ambassador to Pakistan.

click on image to view the slideshow

Oh, and if you wonder how he wears his suits so well, we know the answer — he is an avid cyclist who competed in last year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.

Domani Spero