The Cutline

The Washington Post’s former style reporter to become Islamabad bureau chief

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

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A Pakistani youth reads from the Quran on the outskirts of Islamabad, Aug. 11, 2011. (AP/Muhammed Muheisen)

Here's a 180-degree media job change you don't see every day: from "inside-the-Beltway" to "outsider in Isloo."

Rich Leiby, formerly the Washington Post's style writer and currently an enterprise editor for its local division, is going to become the paper's bureau chief in Islamabad.

Beginning in February, Leiby will lead the Post's coverage of Pakistan and Afghanistan; Kevin Sieff, currently the Post's education reporter, will become bureau chief in Kabul.

Below, via FishbowlDC, is the internal memo from foreign editor Doug Jehl announcing the appointments:

We're happy to announce that we've settled on a new team to cover Pakistan and Afghanistan beginning early next year.

Rich Leiby, currently the enterprise editor on local, will become bureau chief in Islamabad. For most of the last 20 years, Rich has been a mainstay on Style, and his distinguished career as an editor, reporter, and columnist has already included a number of overseas assignments, including stints in Iraq, Israel, and Egypt. A sparkling writer, dogged reporter and first-class idea machine, Rich has most recently dazzled readers with his profiles of Ahmed Ezz, the imprisoned Egyptian magnate, and Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket star turned politician. He'll take over in Pakistan by Feb. 1, replacing Karin Brulliard, who is becoming bureau chief in Jerusalem.

Kevin Sieff, currently an education reporter, will become bureau chief in Kabul.  In just 15 months at the Post, Kevin has shown uncommon promise, as a gifted writer with admirable drive and uncanny story sense. A previous tour covering the U.S.-Mexico border for a small paper in Texas helped sharpen his skills as a foreign correspondent.  He'll take over in Afghanistan by Jan. 1, replacing Josh Partlow, who will begin a leave after nearly five years of war coverage.

Together, Rich and Kevin will make for a formidable team in covering a region whose importance to the United States makes it central to the Post's mission. With the ten-year-old American war effort still very much in the balance, we expect Rich and Kevin to deliver more of the competitive, comprehensive coverage that has distinguished the Post's journalism on both sides of the border.

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