Indian-American to be Aide to Holbrooke's Successor

Lalit K Jha/Washington
Indian-American to be Aide to Holbrooke's Successor
Frank Ruggiero, a career civil servant who served under late Richard Holbrooke, has been made the Acting US Special Representative to the Af-Pak region and will be assisted by two deputies, one of them an Indian- American.

Announcing elevation of Ruggiero, who was Holbrooke's deputy, State Department spokesman P J Crowley said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has retained the same team which the late special envoy created for his Afghanistan and Pakistan agenda.

Ruggiero, Holbrooke's key aid, has been moved up to be the Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP), he said.

"He will lead the SRAP structure that Richard Holbrooke constructed, and will really serve as one of his, you know, finest legacies, assisted by two deputies, Dan Feldman and (Indian-American) Vikram Singh," he said.

"The SRAP structure that will continue on in his absence combines individuals and experts from across government. It incorporates international partners into this structure.

"It is expressly the kind of organisation that he felt was absent in Vietnam and for which he has built a crack team that will continue the policies that the administration pursues within the context of Afghanistan and Pakistan," Crowley said.

Ruggiero joined Clinton at a National Security Council meeting yesterday at the White House that focused on the annual review of Afghanistan policy, Crowley said.

"He has assumed the acting S-REP responsibility. He is at the White House as we speak," Crowley said after Holbrooke died on Monday from complications from a torn aorta.

Ruggiero became Holbrooke's deputy in July 2010 after serving as the senior US civilian representative for southern Afghanistan. He served as acting assistant secretary for political-military affairs from January to June 2009.
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