News / USA

Richard Holbrooke Difficult to Replace, Say Leaders in South Asia

The late U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke visits Pakistani children who survived floods and live in a camp in southern Sindh province, Pakistan, September, 2010.
The late U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke visits Pakistani children who survived floods and live in a camp in southern Sindh province, Pakistan, September, 2010.

Leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan says they are deeply sorrowed by the sudden death of Richard Holbrooke, the United States special envoy for the two countries.

Since becoming the President Barack Obama's Special Representive for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke made frequent trips to the violence-plagued region for talks on how to defeat Islamic militancy and ensure economic stability in both the neighboring countries.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit says Holbrooke was instrumental in bringing Afghanistan and Pakistan together, while making intensive efforts to strengthen Washington's ties with Islamabad. It will be difficult to fill the vacuum his sudden death has created, says Basit.

"I do not think that the aid and the momentum which has been created by him in the context of Pakistan-U.S. relations would be allowed to lose its momentum. I think both our countries, our governments are very committed to keep this relationship forward," he says. "I think this is a legacy of Mr. Holbrooke and Mr. Holbrooke very much wanted this relationship to grow so I think we would be doing all that could be done to sustain the legacy of Mr. Holbrooke."

Mr. Basit says he believes the late American diplomat's input will be instrumental in the review of the U.S. Afghan strategy President Obama is due to make public later this month.

"Nobody can deny the fact that Mr. Holbrooke had been playing a pivotal role in the context of Afghanistan," Basit says. "He was a major voice in giving direction to the U.S. strategy in dealing with the issues relating to Afghanistan. His involvement in the whole process was so intense and deep that he would be missed for a long time to come."

In Afghanistan, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said his government has a good strategic relationship with the United States and is deeply sorrowed by Holbrooke's death.

But Afghan President Hamid Karzai considered the American envoy ignorant of Afghan culture and sometimes refused to meet him. The relationship between the two men had been uneasy since they clashed over allegations of widespread rigging in last year's presidential election that won Mr. Karzai a new term in office.

But analysts say Afghanistan and Pakistan will miss Holbrooke, who had developed a very good understanding with officials and civil society groups in both countries. Tanveer Ahmed Khan is a former Pakistani diplomat and the head of Islamabad's Institute of Strategic Studies.

"He was one of the strong voices in Washington for helping Afghanistan and Pakistan in the economic field, in reconstruction so that the causes of militancy, intolerance, extremism that they would also be tackled," Khan says. 

Holbrooke played a key role in persuading the Obama administration to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and to provide more aid for development projects in order to reverse Taliban gains in the battlefield. But during his last trip to Islamabad in mid-November, the late U.S diplomat gave an open ended answer to the question of whether the strategy was producing results.

"First of all, I think you will know the success of the strategy, it will be evident if it works in the diminishing of violence, in the ability of people to resume their normal lives, in the decline of military incidents and the departure or disappearance of people fighting with the Taliban," Holbrooke said. "So I think that success will define itself and demonstrate itself."

But Holbrooke added an improved relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan is vital to defeat terrorism.

"If the Afghan and the Pakistani governments do not work together there is no possibility of success and an end to this war," he said. "The enemy can always exploit the border, they can move across the border. The two countries have to work together to solve this problem. That is simply self evident."

Taliban insurgents have stepped up attacks on NATO and U.S forces in Afghanistan and the number of foreign troops killed this year in conflict-related incidents has been the highest since the war began in 2001.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid