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Mr. Munter, a career diplomat, told embassy staff Monday that he will step down this summer, according to reporters in Islamabad who quoted unidentified U.S. sources.

One news story predicted he will be replaced by another professional diplomat, Richard Olson, now a top official at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Mr. Olson had served as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates until 2011.

Mr. Munter, a former top diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and a former ambassador to Serbia, arrived in Islamabad in late October 2010 and immediately created a stir by defending U.S. drone strikes on terrorists inside Pakistan.

The ambassador has served in Pakistan during a tense decline in U.S.-Pakistani relations. The United States angered Pakistan with the drone attacks and with last year’s killing of Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in a Pakistani garrison town.

Pakistan outraged Washington by arresting a CIA contractor accused of killing two men in Lahore. Islamabad further crippled relations with the United States by cutting off a NATO supply route to forces in Afghanistan after NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in a border clash in November.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.