President Bush has named a special presidential envoy to Afghanistan. He chose a White House advisor with personal ties to the region. Zalmay Khalilzad was born in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, and has been serving as the president's National Security advisor for South Asia, the Near East and North Africa.
He has served in a number of top foreign policy and defense posts over the years, and is the highest-ranking Muslim in the Bush administration.
A White House statement says Mr. Khalilzad will act as a representative to the Afghan people as they seek to consolidate a new order, reconstruct their country and free it from al-Qaida and the Taleban.
In recent days, President Bush has talked about the difficult task that lies ahead for Afghanistan. He told reporters Friday at his Texas ranch that it could be a long struggle. . . and that U.S. forces will continue their search for Taleban and al-Qaida leaders for as long as is necessary.
Mr. Bush was hit with questions once again Monday when he left the ranch for a brief trip into the tiny town of Crawford. He said al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden may be hiding, but he will be found. He said the same fate awaits Taleban head Mullah Mohammad Omar. "All I know is that he's running... and any time you get a person running, it means you're going to get him pretty soon," he added. "And it is the same with Mullah Omar. It's just a matter of time."
President Bush said he is patient, and so is the U.S. military. He said there is no deadline.