U.S. names Frank Ruggiero as new Af-Pak special envoy

09:32, December 15, 2010      

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Frank Ruggiero (L), the then Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan-Pakistan, General David Petraeus (C), commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and U.S. President Barack Obama meet with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the NATO Summit in Lisbon November 20, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Frank Ruggiero has taken over as the acting special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan following the death of Richard Holbrooke on Monday evening, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.

"He will lead the SRAP (special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan) structure that Richard Holbrooke constructed and will really serve as one of his, you know, finest legacies, assisted by two deputies, Dan Feldman and Vikram Singh," U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said at a press briefing.

"You know, the SRAP structure that will continue on in his absence combines individuals and experts from across government. It incorporates international partners into the structure," the spokesman said.

As the senior policy maker on Obama administration's most pressing foreign policy issue, Holbrooke helped shape the civilian component of the administration's Afghanistan strategy, deploying more than 1,000 diplomats and aid workers to help the Afghans rebuild their state institutions.

U.S. State Department described Frank Ruggiero as a "career civil servant." Before becoming Holbrooke's deputy in July 2010, he served as the top U.S. civilian representative for southern Afghanistan.

Ruggiero was appointed acting assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs in January, 2009. Previously he had served as the principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) and before that as PM's deputy assistant secretary for defense trade and regional security, the department said on its website, adding he had also served at the Department of Commerce.

Ruggiero joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a White House meeting on Tuesday to "finish the review process on our Afghan and Pakistan policies," and the results of the review will be announced on Thursday, Crowley said.

"You know, we'll make minor adjustments or tweaks but expect that the review will continue to affirm the policy which Ambassador Holbrooke helped to develop on behalf of the president and has been charged to carry out," the spokesman added.

The Obama administration revised its strategy for the Afghanistan war in December last year, sending in an additional 30, 000 U.S. troops with a view to reversing the momentum of the Taliban militants.

Source: Xinhua

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