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Neumann New U.S. Diplomat to Afghanistan

July 27, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Taking a diplomatic post his father once held, Ronald E. Neumann was sworn in Wednesday as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and promised to work with the president of the war-damaged country.

Neumann said in a speech at the State Department ceremony that the U.S. struggle with terrorism was not ``a clash between civilizations,″ but a clash within Islam that seeks to remove U.S. influence and restrict human freedom.

Such a view, Neumann said, is rejected by Muslim scholars.

Neumann’s father, Robert, was ambassador to Kabul more than 30 years ago, in addition to serving as ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

It was the first time an American ambassador has taken a post once held by his father. But three generations from the Adams family served as minister to Great Britain before the United States created the rank of ambassador in 1893.

``I wish my parents, Robert and Marlen Neumann, had lived to see this day,″ the younger Neumann said. ``My father was a particular friend and colleague as well as a father. Their love for this profession and for Afghanistan was deep.″

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Afghanistan was ``a place of hope and great promise″ and ``no longer a platform for terrorism.″

Some 20,000 American and allied forces under U.S. command and 8,000 or more NATO troops are in Afghanistan, trying to cope with increasing violence and stabilize a country wrested from Taliban control by a U.S. bombing campaign in 2001.

Ronald Neumann has extensive experience in the Arab world. He served 18 months in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, as the U.S. political counselor, and was ambassador to Algeria and Bahrain.

In Kabul, he will succeed Zalmay Khalilzad, now U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

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