US trouble shooter Richard Holbrooke is dead (Third Lead)

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, December 13, 2010

WASHINGTON - Richard C. Holbrooke America’s high profile diplomatic trouble shooter and Obama administration’s point man in the war torn Afghan-Pakistani region has died after surgery to repair a tear in his

aorta. He was 69.

One of the world’s most recognizable diplomats, Holbrooke’s five decade long career spanned from the Vietnam War era to the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, coinciding with presidencies of John

F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.

Holbrooke, who spearheaded the end of the Bosnian war, died Monday at George Washington University Hospital where he was admitted last Friday after feeling ill at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office during an ongoing

review of the situation in the Af-Pak region.

Obama called Holbrooke “a true giant of American foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer, and more respected.”

“Tonight, there are millions of people around the world whose lives have been saved and enriched by his work,” Obama said in a statement.

Clinton said the US had lost “one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants.”

“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,” Clinton’s statement said, adding: “Few people have ever left a larger mark on the State Department or our country.”

“He was always a man on a mission, the toughest mission, and that mission was waging peace through tough as nails, never quit diplomacy — and Richard’s life’s work saved tens of thousands of lives,” John Kerry, Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said.

Holbrooke was best known for being “the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement” that ended the Bosnian war — the deadly ethnic conflict in the 1990s that erupted during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

After Obama took office in 2008, Holbrooke took one of the toughest diplomatic assignments — US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He was frank in his assessments about the region and officials in both countries regarded him as abrasive, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, CNN said.

In April of 2009, there were reports of a heated argument between Holbrooke and Karzai after alleged fraud in the Afghan presidential election, it said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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