U.S. President Barack Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan has pledged Washington's continued support for the region as the three countries work together toward peace in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Marc Grossman spoke with VOA's Urdu service this week ahead of stepping down after nearly two years in his position. He said that over the past year, an Afghan-owned peace process has been the main focus of the countries' repeated meetings.
Grossman said he has always believed Washington's role was to get the talks going and "just stand back" as Islamabad and Kabul work together. He credited Pakistan with becoming more involved in the discussions over the past year.
He also said that compared to the end of 2011, relations between Islamabad and Washington are "getting better." He said both sides realize they must work together on important issues, ranging from counterterrorism, Afghanistan, bilateral investment and ground lines of communication.
During his tenure, Grossman has had to deal with several major challenges to the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, from the NATO helicopter attack that mistakenly killed 26 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border, the covert unilateral U.S. raid into Pakistan to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Pakistani public anger at the U.S. drone campaign targeting militants in the country's northwest.
Grossman said that the first thing he plans to do after stepping down is sleep and read, two things he said he has not been able to do much during the past two years.