Obama picked James Cunningham, the No. 2 at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, to be the new ambassador to Afghanistan and Richard Olson as ambassador to Pakistan, the White House said.
Olson’s most recent assignment was a senior economic development post at the U.S. embassy in Kabul. Both nominees require Senate confirmation.
Before Cunningham’s post in Kabul, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2011. From 2005 to 2008, he was U.S. consul general in Hong Kong, and was posted in earlier assignments to the United Nations, Rome and NATO.
Olson served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011 and at the U.S. mission to NATO in Brussels, among other assignments.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized to Pakistan earlier this month for a November NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. That gesture paved for Pakistan to reopen supply-lines to U.S.-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The assignments come as the US House of Representatives vote to cut US aid to Pakistan by $650million in the latest defense appropriations bill proposed by Republican Congressman Ted Poe.