Biden picks career diplomat for top posting in Pakistan

FILE PHOTO: A State Department contractor adjust a flag before a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Pakistan's Interior Minister Khan on the sidelines of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department in Washington
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By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden plans to nominate Donald Blome, currently ambassador to Tunisia, as his top diplomat in Pakistan as Washington works to manage the situation in neighboring Afghanistan following the withdrawal of American troops.

Biden on Tuesday will announce plans to nominate Blome to the job in Pakistan, the White House said. Blome is a career Foreign Service diplomat with long experience in the region who once worked in the Kabul embassy, shuttered earlier this year during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Pakistan is playing a major role in diplomacy with its Taliban-ruled neighbor.

International agencies have warned that Afghanistan is on the verge of humanitarian collapse without access to aid or foreign reserves, which remain frozen in the United States.

Pakistan's relationship with neighboring China has also been of interest to the Biden administration, which regards Beijing as its chief international rival.

Tunisia, where Blome has worked as ambassador since 2019, is an important diplomatic outpost for the United States in North Africa, representing interests beyond the country's borders, including in neighboring Libya.

The ambassadorial position requires Senate confirmation.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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