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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid