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US envoy for Afghanistan steps down

Published on Jul 2, 2014 10:29 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US special envoy for Afghanistan is stepping down, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Wednesday in a move which comes at a key juncture in troubled US-Afghan ties.

James Dobbins, a veteran diplomat with deep ties to Afghanistan, is retiring after just over a year in office and will be replaced by his deputy Dan Feldman, Mr Kerry said in a statement.

The shuffle comes as the two candidates to be Afghanistan's next president - succeeding Hamid Karzai who has held the reins for 13 years - wrangle over alleged fraud in the elections.

The political crisis threatens the country's first democratic transfer of power, and tarnishes US hopes of a smooth handover as it prepares to withdraw all US forces by late 2016.

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