Trump announces new US ambassador to Afghanistan

Trump announces new US ambassador to Afghanistan
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE on Thursday announced his intent to nominate a new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, looking to fill a role left empty since the previous ambassador stepped down in January.

The president said he intends to nominate William Ruger, a Naval reserve officer and think-tank senior researcher to represent America in Afghanistan.

Ruger is a veteran of the U.S. war in Afghanistan who now serves as the vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute. He is also vice president for foreign policy at the philanthropic organization Stand Together, also founded by Charles Koch.

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He has held academic positions at Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin.

The announcement comes ahead of the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the deadliest attack on U.S. soil in American history, and as the president seeks to draw down American forces in Afghanistan that were first sent to the region in response to the attacks.

Ruger is a supporter of Trump’s push to “end endless wars,” saying in a statement last year that while the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was “necessary and just” to punish the Taliban government for supporting Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, it is time to remove U.S. troops from the region.

The president’s nomination also comes as the Taliban and Afghanistan government are set to begin peace talks next week in Doha, Qatar.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHouse panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over Outgoing ambassador to China slams Beijing over coronavirus: 'Could have been contained in Wuhan' Hillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers MORE on Thursday welcomed the negotiations, calling it an “opportunity" that "must not be squandered.”

“The United States recalls the commitment by the Afghan government and the Taliban that terrorists can never again use Afghan soil to threaten the United States or its allies,” the secretary said in a statement. “Now is the time for peace for Afghanistan.”