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US nominates Afghanistan, Iraq ambassadors

world Updated: Mar 12, 2009 07:50 IST
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Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, a NATO official and former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, was nominated to be the US' next ambassador to Afghanistan by President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

Eikenberry is currently deputy chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO)military committee. A career military veteran, he served as the commander of the Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan for 18 months before moving to NATO's Brussels headquarters in 2007.

Obama has called Afghanistan the central front in the war on terrorism and last month announced plans to send 17,000 more US troops to the region to help quell a Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgency.

Richard Holbrooke, who helped broker peace in the former Yugoslavia, is serving as as a special envoy to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama also officially nominated Christopher Hill as ambassador to Iraq, though he already made his choice known last month in a speech on Iraq policy. Hill, a career diplomat, served as the lead negotiator with North Korea during the former president George W. Bush's administration.

Obama last month said he would withdraw most US combat troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010 but plans to keep in place thousands of soldiers to support and train Iraqi forces.