Islamabad, Aug 3 (ANI): Former US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Robin Raphel, an old South Asia hand, has been appointed by the Obama Administration as coordinator for non-military assistance to Pakistan.
Appointed as a key member of Obama's Pakistan team, Raphel's mandate will be to coordinate the effort to determine, in consultation with the Pakistani authorities, how best to allocate the increased US funding for non-military assistance, informed diplomatic sources.
Raphel will be a new member of the US special envoy Richard Holbrooke's expanding team and she will be based in Pakistan, The News quoted Sources, as saying.
Holbrooke was appointed Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Obama Administration in January to coordinate US Government's efforts in the region.
Raphel will be reporting to Holbrooke in Washington, and at Islamabad to the US Ambassador. A formal announcement about her appointment is expected shortly.
Ambassador Raphel will be "also overseeing the ramp up of US civilian assistance effort in anticipation of the final passage of the Kerry-Lugar Bill 2009," an insider explained.
The passage of the Kerry-Lugar Bill means approval of tripling of civilian US aid to Pakistan to about 1.5 billion dollars per annum for each of the next five years in a key part of a strategy to combat extremism with economic and social development.
The 1.5 billion dollars in annual funding includes money for schools, judicial system, and Parliament and law-enforcement agencies in Pakistan.
As Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs during the Clinton administration in the 1990s, Raphel had a similar role within the region. She particularly played an important part in managing US relations with the newly formed Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Raphel is currently the senior vice-president of a Washington-based lobbying consulting firm Cassidy and Associates that provides counselling to multinational corporations, foreign countries and other organisations to advocate their US-based interests in Washington, and US corporations to meet business challenges abroad. (ANI)