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Chatham native, John Bass, nominated to be ambassador to Afghanistan

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Ambassador John Bass in Ankara, Turkey. Bass, a Chatham native, was nominated to be the new ambassador to Afghanistan by President Donald Trump.
August 3, 2017 - 12:08 am Updated: August 3, 2017 - 12:10 am

A Chatham native and current U.S. Ambassador to Turkey was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the new ambassador to Afghanistan, a huge responsibility as the president decides whether more troops are needed in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.

John Bass was among several candidates nominated by Trump for various State Department positions July 20.

“Ambassador Bass is honored potentially to have another opportunity to represent the U.S. overseas as ambassador and, if confirmed, looks forward to continuing our work to defend the United States’ interests and promote our values, as he have throughout his more than 29 years in the Foreign Service,” said Sarah Grow, a public affairs representative for the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Bass was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey in September 2014 after an impressive career in the State Department, starting with his first post at the U.S. Embassy in Chad, and the White House including senior advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, the head of the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team and U.S. ambassador to Georgia from 2009 to 2012.

Bass’ father, Capt. John Rodney Bass, served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves during the Vietnam War. Capt. Bass was killed in action.

Bass and his family then moved to Chatham in 1971 after his mother married Daniel Klinger, a Nassau-based architect, and he graduated from Chatham High School in 1982.

He then went on to Syracuse University, where he studied international relations under professors from the Maxwell School, the oldest and highest-ranked graduate school for public affairs in the country.

His mother owns the Rose Hill Bed and Breakfast in the village of Chatham.

“I am thrilled to see that a Chatham native — and an immensely qualified public servant — John Bass — was nominated to serve in the vitally important role of U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan,” said U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19. “Ambassador Bass currently serves as the ambassador to Turkey and has served in missions across Europe, Eurasia and Africa. Our nation is lucky to have his leadership in this critical time in the region.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Bass would face a new challenge in Afghanistan, which has been in a state of war for 15 years, with recent reports of an uptick in Taliban activity, including the recent attack in Kandahar province that killed 39 Afghan army soldiers and wounded 17 others.

In June, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testified to Congress that the U.S. was losing the war in Afghanistan, prompting talks about whether more U.S. troops would be deployed to the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.

“Bass has spent much of the past decade supporting federal government efforts to mobilize allies and marshal resources to combat terrorism and instability in Iraq, Syria and Southwest Asia,” according to a White House statement about Bass’ nomination.