British ambassador to Afghanistan named as envoy to Pakistan

Britain's controversial ambassador to Afghanistan, Sherard Cowper-Coles, was named Monday as Britain's special envoy to that country and Pakistan. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman, Michael Ellam, said Cowper-Coles would work in tandem with Richard Holbrooke, the new US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan named by President Barack Obama, who wants to substantially increase the US troop presence in Afghanistan to combat the resurgent Taliban. Cowper-Coles and Holbrooke will work "to build consensus and support for the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan," a spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office said on condition of anonymity in line with department policy. "Holbrooke's appointment is a welcome signal of the new importance the US attaches to the regional dimension," the spokeswoman said.