Bush to Tap Khalilzad as Ambassador to Iraq

A U.S. diplomat who has worked with reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan is President Bush's choice to be the new American ambassador to Iraq, an administration official said Friday.

Zalmay Khalilzad (search), an Afghan-American, will be nominated to succeed John Negroponte (search) in the post in Baghdad, this source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no official White House announcement has been made.

Negroponte has been nominated by Bush to be the nation's first director of national intelligence.

Khalilzad, who had been a member of the National Security Council staff early in Bush's presidency, was sent to Kabul to be the top U.S. representative there in 2003.

Khalilzad started with the State Department in 1984, reporting at that time to Paul Wolfowitz (search), now deputy secretary of defense at the Pentagon.