United States diplo­mat Richard Hol­brooke dies

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

WASHINGTON: Vet­eran US diplo­mat Richard Hol­brooke has died fol­low­ing a sec­ond round of surgery to treat a torn aorta.

He fell ill on Fri­day while meet­ing US Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton.

He was Pres­i­dent Barack Obama's spe­cial en­voy to Afghanistan and Pak­istan. The pres­i­dents of both na­tions paid trib­ute to him.

Mr Obama called the 69year-old, who was known for bring­ing war­ring lead­ers to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble, a "true gi­ant of Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy".

Mr Hol­brooke was meet­ing Ms Clin­ton at the US state depart­ment on Fri­day morn­ing when he col­lapsed.

He was rushed to the US cap­i­tal's Ge­orge Washington Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, where he un­der­went surgery to re­pair a tear in his aorta - the largest artery in the hu­man body, which car­ries oxy­genated blood from the heart.

Mr Hol­brooke's death comes as the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pre­pares to make pub­lic its lat­est re­view of US pol­icy in Afghanistan and Pak­istan later this week.

Fol­low­ing the news of his death, Mr Obama said: "Michelle and I are deeply sad­dened by the pass­ing of Richard Hol­brooke, a true gi­ant of Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy who has made Amer­ica stronger, safer and more re­spected.

From the day he was ap­pointed spe­cial en­voy to Afghanistan and Pak­istan, Mr Hol­brooke played a cen­tral role shap­ing the pol­icy and the in­ter-agency process, mak­ing sure the Pen­tagon, the state depart­ment and USAID were all on the same page.

His team at the state depart­ment fo­cused heav­ily on de­vel­op­ing the civil­ian side of the strat­egy, which he be­lieved was cru­cial.

He was in­de­fati­ga­ble, de­ter­mined and in­cred­i­bly well-in­formed about the de­tails. He rubbed many peo­ple the wrong way, in­clud­ing Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai.

When he was asked in the US Congress what suc­cess would look like in Afghanistan he an­swered, "We'll know it when we see it."

But he was one of the first to say pub­licly that the US strat­egy in Afghanistan needed to be fixed.

His ab­sence will be felt at the state depart­ment and around Washington, as well as in Pak­istan and Afghanistan. Di­plo­mats here say he leaves be­hind a strong team and a strat­egy that is in a "good phase".

His deputy, Frank Ruggiero, will take over in the in­terim. -BBC News

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