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US Senate confirms Crocker as Afghanistan envoy

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The US Senate unanimously confirmed Ryan Crocker, as the new ambassador to Kabul. - AFP (File Photo)

WASHINGTON: The US Senate unanimously confirmed Ryan Crocker as the new ambassador to Kabul on Thursday, sending a veteran diplomat with vast experience in the world's hotspots to strife-torn Afghanistan.

Lawmakers approved Crocker's nomination by unanimous consent one week after President Barack Obama laid out the planned pace of the US troop draw-down from Afghanistan.

Crocker knows Afghanistan well, having been among the team that re-opened the US embassy in Kabul in 2001 after the Taliban were ousted by the US-led invasion in the wake of the September 11th terrorist strikes.

But he will still walk a delicate tightrope trying to keep ties between Kabul and Washington on an even keel as US and international forces prepare to hand over security in the war-torn nation to Afghan forces by 2014.

He will also have to coordinate the transition of Washington's mission as it moves from being a military partner with Kabul to providing civilian aid, something which promises to be a difficult task.

Crocker, a fluent Arabic speaker, has served as ambassador to Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait as well as to Pakistan, and more recently was the US envoy to Iraq, helping to forge a semblance of peace among its warring groups.

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