Marc Grossman will be replacing the late Richard Holbrooke. An image of Richard Holbrooke is projected on a large screen at the front of the house before the start of his memorial service at the Kennedy Center, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, in Washington. Holbrooke, veteran US diplomat and President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died in December at the age of 69. – AP Photo

WASHINGTON: 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, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

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

Clinton met with Grossman at the State Department and expects to announce his appointment in a speech to the Asia Society in New York on Friday, if not before, the Post said.

The newspaper cited administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The State Department had no immediate comment on the report.

Grossman would take over as President Barack Obama’s administration faces a crucial year in its strategy for the troubled region, including an initial US 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 Defense Secretary William Cohen, which advises international business clients on overseas enterprises.

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