Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Envoy To Pakistan/Afghanistan, dies at 69

Deeply saddened by the passing of Richard Holbrooke, a true giant of foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer and more respected. Barack Obama US, President

President Asif Ali Zardari called Holbrooke an “extremely hard-working man who can get things done which would otherwise take weeks to get through.”

At our last breakfast meeting I asked Ambassador Richard Holbrooke how long he planned to work and he said “As long as I can make a difference” Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.

Governor of the Punjab Salman Taseer says, “I will always remember Ambassador Holbrooke as the man who saved the Muslims of Bosnia.”

Richard Holbrooke, the veteran U.S. diplomat who was the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and perhaps best known for his role in negotiating an end to the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, has died.

On Friday, he was rushed to George Washington University Hospital with a tear in his aorta and underwent surgery on Saturday. He died today, at the age of 69.

Holbrooke, whose foreign service began in 1962 in Vietnam, had served every Democratic president since John F. Kennedy. After Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, he served as U.S. ambassador to Germany and later as assistant secretary of state for European affairs, where he helped broker the Dayton Peace Accords.

He was brilliant and savvy, but he could also be combative and cantankerous; he had his admirers and detractors. In the latter years of the Clinton administration, he served as ambassador to the U.N. but only after a lengthy investigation into his business dealings stalled his confirmation. In 2008 he was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In quotes: Tributes to Richard Holbrooke

Leaders in the US and elsewhere have paid tribute to veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who has died aged 69.

Barack Obama, US president

He was a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace…

The progress that we have made in Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to Richard’s relentless focus on America’s national interest, and pursuit of peace and security. He understood, in his life and his work, that our interests encompassed the values that we hold so dear.

Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state

Tonight America has lost one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants. Richard Holbrooke served the country he loved for nearly half a century, representing the United States in far-flung war-zones and high-level peace talks, always with distinctive brilliance and unmatched determination. He was one of a kind – a true statesman – and that makes his passing all the more painful.

From his early days in Vietnam to his historic role bringing peace to the Balkans to his last mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard helped shape our history, manage our perilous present, and secure our future. He was the consummate diplomat, able to stare down dictators and stand up for America’s interests and values even under the most difficult circumstances.

Bill Clinton, former US president

In a lifetime of passionate, brilliant service on the front lines of war and peace, freedom and oppression, Richard Holbrooke saved lives, secured peace, and restored hope for countless people around the world. Tomorrow marks the 15-year anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Accords – the agreement Dick negotiated which stopped the killings in Bosnia and paved a path to peace in the Balkans that endures today…

For the last two years, he worked hard to counter terrorism and to build a secure, democratic future for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our nation is safer, and our world stronger, because of the work he did.

Tony Blair, former UK prime minister

He was a remarkable man, a remarkable public servant and someone who contributed enormously to the cause of a more peaceful and just world. He will be deeply mourned by many people in many different nations.

Peter Galbraith, former US ambassador and UN official

He was in a category by himself. Someone who was very strategic, he knew where he wanted to go, and he had a good understanding as a diplomat of the different players and how actually to relate to them. But [he was] an operator with a real moral sense – he didn’t have to get involved in Bosnia, he wanted to. And he did it because he was outraged by what was going on. (Source)

Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan speaks with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. – APP (File Photo)

President Zardari mourns ‘friend’ Holbrooke

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday paid glowing tribute to Richard Holbrooke, calling the late US special envoy to the region a “friend of Pakistan”.

“Pakistan has lost a friend. He was an accomplished and experienced diplomat, who quickly gained the confidence of his interlocutors,” Zardari was quoted as saying in an official statement.

He called Holbrooke a “key player in international diplomacy to bring peace to Bosnia and in confronting militancy in our part of the world”.

Zardari described the late US envoy as a personal friend of both himself and his late wife, assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“The best tribute to him is to reiterate our resolve to root out extremism and usher in peace,” Zardari said.

Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was one of America’s most experienced diplomats with an illustrious career spanning nearly 50 years.

He had the daunting task of pushing Kabul and Islamabad to work together against resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.



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