Ambassador Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Jones Takes Charge of Afghanistan Rescue

Experienced foreign service officer served in Kabul named Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts

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The State Department announced that Amb. Elizabeth “Beth” Jones is taking charge of getting people out of Afghanistan.

I worked and traveled with Amb. Beth Jones when she was Assistant Secretary for Europe. She’s smart, knowledgeable, diligent and caring. I expect to see progress soon under her leadership.

I’ve written that Amb. John Bass, the previous head of the evacuation efforts, was not right for the job because he was never seen by the public. The person in this role needs to be held accountable by the public with TV interviews, take questions on camera and testify before Congress when called. It’s notable that Ned Price’s statement about Jones includes that she will do outreach to the “press corp.”

I'm encouraged that the Biden administration is shaking things up at State because the current policy — telling people to hide from the Taliban until there’s a solution— is not acceptable.

Here’s Price’s statement on Jones:

As the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts, Ambassador Jones will assume oversight of the entire Afghanistan relocation effort, from our ongoing efforts to facilitate the departure of individuals from Afghanistan to their onward relocation and resettlement in the United States.  

Ambassador Jones is exceptionally well-equipped to take on this critical role, returning from her retirement from the foreign service.  Her first assignment as a foreign service officer was in Kabul, and, as a member of the senior foreign service, she was the Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  She was our Ambassador to Kazakhstan and assistant secretary of two bureaus (EUR and NEA).

As she takes over these new duties, Ambassador Jones will focus on the very complex issues related to our efforts to facilitate the relocation and resettlement in the United States of Afghan individuals to whom we have a commitment. 

This includes efficient and effective coordination within the Department, across the interagency and with international partners, as well as outreach to our colleagues in Congress, our press corps, and to others. 

These operations will be managed along four primary areas of responsibility: relocation out of Afghanistan, third-country transit and processing outside the United States, resettlement in the United States, and overall outreach and engagement.

My sources:

State Department statement on Elizabeth Jones:

Amb. Elizabeth Jones biography


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