Jan. 6 (UPI) -- John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan since December 2017 announced that he will be leaving Monday in what the State Department called a "long-planned" departure.
Bass leaves at a time of uncertainty in the country, as the Trump administration continues in its effort to broker a peace deal with the Taliban that would result in some or all U.S. troops leaving the country.
In a video message released by Bass and his wife Holly Holzer-Bass Monday, the ambassador said it will be up to Afghans to determine their own future.
"It depends on your choices and whether you can work together and learn again to live together in peace, whether you can weave that tale together," Bass said in the video. "The United States can and will help you. But we cannot choose your future or created it on your behalf. Only you can do that."
A State Department official said Bass's departure is part of its "normal rotation cycle" for diplomats.
The Kabul embassy will be led by Ambassador Ross Wilson, a former foreign service officer with decades of experience, until a permanent replacement is named. Until his arrival, deputy chief of mission Karen Decker will serve as the charge d'affaires.
The Taliban has continued with its attacks on U.S. and Afghan government targets while trying to negotiate peace. On Dec. 23, Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, died following injuries he sustained while his unit was engaged in combat operations in the Kunduz Province of Afghanistan the day before.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for his death, with militant spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying that it targeted U.S. forces in the attack.