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Trump announces new US ambassador to Afghanistan

Trump announces new US ambassador to Afghanistan
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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food 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 PompeoMike PompeoDeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Pompeo not ruling out 2024 White House bid Houthis: US sanctions prolonging war in Yemen 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.”