Veteran U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke travels to Pakistan Monday on his first trip to the region as a new U.S. special envoy.
In Germany on Sunday, Holbrooke told world leaders and security experts that the situation in Afghanistan presents one of the most difficult challenges he has ever seen in his long career. He said countering the insurgency and bringing stability to Afghanistan will be much tougher than doing the same in Iraq.
Holbrooke said a new approach is needed in Afghanistan, in addition to more troops to fight insurgents.
His trip is part of a review of U.S. policy by the Obama administration, which is considering boosting combat troop numbers in Afghanistan by as many as 14,000 this year.
Besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke will also visit India to discuss Afghanistan and related unrest along the Pakistani-Afghan border.
The U.S. State Department says Holbrooke is not bringing any specific proposals for advancing international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. But a spokesman said last week that the trip will be like an "orientation session" after which Holbrooke will report back to President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A senior U.S. diplomat said that Secretary of State Clinton is convinced that the Afghan conflict cannot be resolved without the proper mix of developmental, political and military action.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.