February 15, 2011 / 3:16 AM / 9 years ago

Clinton picks new U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Pakistan

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media following her meeting with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Washington, January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen retired diplomat Marc Grossman to replace the late Richard Holbrooke as the United States’ special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, a senior administration official said on Monday.

The appointment will be announced later this week, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Clinton is due to make a speech on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Asia Society in New York on Friday.

The position has been vacant since Holbrooke, a veteran diplomatic trouble shooter, died suddenly in December.

The Washington Post, which first reported Clinton’s choice, said Clinton met with Grossman at the State Department on Monday and expects to announce his appointment during her speech on Friday, if not sooner.

Grossman would take over as President Barack Obama’s administration faces a crucial year in its strategy for the troubled region, including an initial U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan due to begin in July.

Grossman, a former ambassador to Turkey, retired from the State Department in 2005 after three decades in diplomatic service.

He is vice president of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm headed for former Defence Secretary William Cohen, which advises international business clients on overseas enterprises.

Editing by Christopher Wilson

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