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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid