James F Dobbins, a veteran United States diplomat, has been named as the new special American envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, at a time when both countries are going through "a pivotal moment".
Announcing his appointment, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, "He has a deep and longstanding relationships in the region and I couldn't be more grateful that Jim has agreed to take on this assignment."
He said that he called the leaders of the two countries to inform them of his decision in this regard.
Kerry called Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, according to a State Department spokesman.
"This is a pivotal moment for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with interconnected political, security, and economic transitions already under way in Afghanistan, and Pakistani elections just days away, marking an important and historic democratic transition," Kerry said.
Dobbins was the first US diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.
He represented the US at the Bonn Conference that established the new Afghanistan government, and he raised the flag over the US Embassy in Kabul when it reopened in 2001, Kerry said.
Currently a director at the RAND International Security and Defence Policy, Dobbins succeeds Marc Grossman, who resigned from the post last December.
A career foreign service officer, Dobbins led the government efforts to establish greater peace, stability and security in places like Bosnia, Kosovo and Haiti.
He has also served as assistant secretary for European affairs, as well as special assistant to the President and special adviser to the President and Secretary of State on the Balkans, and as ambassador to the European community.
US officials said it was expected that he would make his first trip to the region soon.