Bush Envoy Wants to Rule Afghanistan, Rumors Say
Ambassador lets political buzz persist
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2008 5:10 PM CST
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, speaks with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, during a UN conference on climate change at the United Nations headquarters in New...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Diplomatic circles are abuzz about a US envoy who reportedly wants to rule Afghanistan next year. Zalmay Khalilzad, ex-US diplomat to Afghanistan and Iraq, hasn't squelched the gossip about his presidential aspirations either. He even joked at Columbia University recently that “I didn’t come here to collect contributions for my campaign.”

Afghan-born “Zal,” now US envoy to the UN, has further fueled rumors by lunching with Afghan funder George Soros and skipping meetings on Israel—both potential keys to ruling in Afghanistan, the New Republic reports. Neocon Khalilzad is also emerging politically unscathed by the 43rd presidency. Insiders say he is likely waiting to judge his strength against potential Kabul rivals.