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Reports: U.S. Eliminating Post Of Special Envoy On Afghanistan-Pakistan

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (left) and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on June 21.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. State Department is eliminating the post of the U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the move will leave Washington without anyone at the policy post that was created by the previous U.S. president, Barack Obama.

The reports quoted current and former U.S. officials who said the current acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan would vacate the post on June 23.

The decision comes as the United States prepares to deploy thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, and as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis heads a policy review board on the two countries, in a bid to bolster the fight against Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militants.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Politico reported that the duties of the post will be folded into the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

However, sources said that bureau currently has no political leadership.

The Afghan-Pakistan post was first held by the late U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

Since 2009, it has been a key position for leadership on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Based on reporting by Wall Street Journal and Politico