President Obama's choice to become the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, is a career diplomat with extensive experience across the Middle East.
He has served as a U.S. ambassador five previous times, starting in Lebanon in the early 1990s. After that, he became the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, followed by Syria and Pakistan, and from 2007 to 2009, Iraq.
Crocker, 61, took up his post in Iraq in the beginning stages of former President George W. Bush's troop surge.
After joining the foreign service in 1971, Crocker, who speaks Arabic, completed assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq, Egypt and Washington. He was assigned to the U.S. embassy in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and Marine barracks in 1983.
In 2009, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.