Conflict & Justice

Ryan Crocker expected to be picked for US ambassador to Afghanistan


Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker speaks at the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad on November 5, 2008.


Ceerwan Aziz

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate veteran diplomat Ryan C. Crocker to be the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Crocker is considered one of the most experienced Middle East diplomats in Washington and served two years as U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

The move will be one in a string of top changes in leadership of the Afghan war. Obama is expected to name replacements for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and other senior military leaders in the coming months, the Associated Press reports.

Crocker would succeed Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army lieutenant general who has had cool relations with some in the White House as well as Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Eikenberry's departure has not been announced, and he may stay in the position until Crocker or another replacement receives Senate confirmation.

Crocker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 - 2009, would be working closely again with Afghan war commander Gen. David H. Petraeus. The two were in Iraq together during the Bush administration.

"Crocker has also held senior diplomatic posts in Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. He took over as the American ambassador to Iraq in 2007, just as President George W. Bush’s troop increase was getting under way, and he worked closely with General Petraeus in the ensuing years," the New York Times states.

Crocker would be taking over the top role at the embassy just as the Obama administration begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.