Sunday, December 12, 2010

US Mission Pakistan: reports of Consul General's departure due to Taliban threats wrong

The Times of India reports that the US diplomat quit Peshawar due to Taliban threats.  Press TV out of Tehran puts a different spin with "US consul flees Pakistan amid threats." DNA out of Mumbai reports that US consul general departs from Pakistan amid Taliban 'threats'.  The Deccan Herald out of Bangalore which misspelled Ms. Rood's name blares the headline US diplomat refuses to serve in Peshawar.  The Nation calls her departure a mystery.

DNA India quotes Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province who contended that Rood had returned to the US for "personal reasons".  "It is incorrect to speculate that the US consul general had received threats from militants," he said. Rood was "satisfied in Peshawar and had appreciated the foolproof security extended by our government to her on several occasions", Hussain said.

We asked  Alberto Rodriguez, the US Embassy spokesman in Islamabad about Ms. Rood's departure.  He writes that "Elizabeth Rood left Peshawar before the completion for personal reasons. Reports that she left because of Taliban threats are inaccurate."  He also identified Constance Arvis, the Pol/Econ Officer in Peshawar as the acting CG until a new Consul General is identified and arrives at post.

The US Consulate General in Peshawar was established in 1958 to represent the United States in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. On February 9 this year, the Consulate was elevated to a Consulate General. Ms. Rood arrived as CG in Peshawar this past summer.

Prior to her assignment in Peshawar, Ms. Rood was the Department of State representative on the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Paktika Province in southeastern Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009.  From 2006 to 2007, she was the Director of the State Department's Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts. And from 2004-2007 she was the Deputy to the U.S. Special Negotiator for the Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria conflicts.

Elizabeth Rood is the first recipient of the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy.

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