President Hollande appoints ambassador to Afghanistan as France's new spymaster

President Francois Hollande has appointed French ambassador to Afghanistan Bernard Bajolet as the new head of France's main spy agency.

Hollande's office said Wednesday that Bajolet, 63, will head the DGSE intelligence agency. Officials said Bajolet (Baa-Zho-LAY) is expected to take over from outgoing chief Erard Corbin de Mangoux within two weeks.

Before taking up his Afghanistan post in 2011, Bajolet served for three years as the first in-house intelligence chief at the presidential palace under then-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The DGSE is France's answer to the CIA. It has recently focused on counterterrorism against Al-Qaida's north Africa arm and dealing with hostage-takings of French citizens in Africa, including a failed operation in January to free one of its agents held in Somalia. Two commandos and the agent died.