Marc Grossman New Envoy to Pakistan, Afghanistan
Former ambassador replaces Richard Holbrooke
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2011 5:51 AM CST
Then-Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman talks to journalists at the UN headquarters in Kosovo's capital Pristina in 2004.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Former ambassador to Egypt Marc Grossman will be coming out of retirement to take up one of the toughest jobs in diplomacy, administration officials say. Grossman, after months of wrangling between the White House and the State Department, is to become the new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, filling the post left open by Richard Holbrooke's death in December, officials tell the Washington Post.

Grossman's last position in government before leaving for the private sector in 2005 was undersecretary for political affairs during George W. Bush's first term. He is expected to be named as the new envoy by Hillary Clinton in a speech Friday. Grossman has some big shoes to fill and a hard road ahead: The administration is facing a crucial year for its strategy in Afghanistan and has seen relations with Pakistan deteriorate to their worst in years over the shooting of two Pakistani men by a US Embassy official. (Click for more on that case.)