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Frank Ruggiero has been named the acting replacement for Richard Holbrooke as the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Ruggiero had been serving as Holbrooke's deputy since July, and has previously worked as a senior U.S. civilian official in Afghanistan.

Veteran diplomat Holbrooke died on December 13 at the age of 69 after undergoing surgery for a torn aorta.

The State Department said that despite Holbrooke’s death, it is expected that U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan will remain on the same path.

Spokesman Philip Crowley said Ruggiero had joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a White House meeting December 14 focusing on the review that President Barack Obama has ordered for his administration's strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The strategy review is expected to be formally released on December 16.

compiled from agency reports

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