US names experienced diplomat as new Afghan envoy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has tapped a veteran American diplomat to be the new U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Secretary of State John Kerry says he chose Ambassador James F. Dobbins because of his “deep and long-standing relationships in the region.”

Kerry called the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday to inform them of his decision. He praised Dobbins as one of America’s “most accomplished diplomats.”

Dobbins replaces Marc Grossman, who took the job after Richard Holbrooke died in 2010.

Dobbins raised the flag over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul when it reopened in 2001. He most recently has been serving as a director at the RAND Corporation.

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