Washington (CNN) - The Kennedy Center will host a memorial service Friday for Richard Holbrooke, the veteran U.S. diplomat who died last month after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta.
The service will be attended by various dignitaries, including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton. Pakistani President Asif Zardari will also attend.FULL STORY
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Richard C. Holbrooke, the high-octane diplomat who spearheaded the end of the Bosnian war and most recently served as the Obama administration's point man in the volatile Afghan-Pakistani war zone, has died, officials said.
The 69-year-old diplomat died Monday at George Washington University Hospital. He was admitted last Friday after feeling ill. Doctors performed surgery Saturday to repair a tear in his aorta.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke was in critical but stable condition Sunday at George Washington University Hospital, a state department official said. Holbrooke fell ill Friday morning, subsequently had surgery to repair a tear in his aorta and was in critical condition on Saturday.
Appearing earlier in the day on the CNN program "State of the Union," senior White House adviser David Axelrod said that Holbrooke was "fighting" the heart problem at George Washington University Hospital. He called President Barack Obama's special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan "a very tough person."
Washington (CNN) - Richard Holbrooke, the well-known U.S. diplomat, was in critical condition at George Washington Hospital on Saturday after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a statement.
Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, fell ill Friday morning during a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and walked down to the department's medical unit, a senior State Department official said. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, the official said.
U.S. Marines set up a camouflage shade at their combat outpost in northern Marjah in mid-April. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - It would be inaccurate to call the U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan's Marjah district a failure, and yet it's too early to call it a success, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan told CNN Sunday.
"What's happening in Marjah is that the U.S. military and NATO went into one of the most difficult areas of the country, one of the bellies of the insurgency, displaced the Taliban and settled in," Richard Holbrooke told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."
"The people are pleased with this," he said. "This was an area called 'Little America' in the Kennedy and Johnson era. They remember the Americans. We came in with agricultural support and seed. And we broke up big drug bazaars. So a tremendous amount of gain occurred immediately.
"I met with the tribal leaders and the Shura and they said, 'Thank you for coming.' But they also said three important things - we risked our lives to come here today; we must have agricultural assistance; and we must have security.'"
The United States can't provide that security indefinitely, he said, and will have to train the Afghan police and army to replace them. Such a "clear, hold and build" strategy is "at the heart of counterinsurgency," Holbrooke said. "It's not accurate to say Marjah's a failure and it's premature to say Marjah's a success."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's dismissal of the top commander in Afghanistan was "extremely unfortunate" but "necessary," according to Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Holbrooke told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a "very distinguished and fine officer."
He noted some of the barbs in the Rolling Stone magazine article that led to McChrystal's downfall were aimed at him, but Holbrooke said the story "made no difference to me" personally and didn't change his positive opinion of McChrystal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States is rushing emergency aid to Pakistan - an initial $5 million - to help people uprooted by the fighting against extremists, according to the State Department.
The U.S. had urged the Pakistanis to launch the military action that in recent days has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their villages.
Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took a longer-term view Tuesday and discussed how the United States might triple aid to Pakistan over the next five years.
The State Department said Tuesday the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan and officials of the U.S. Agency for International Development were evaluating the needs of civilians fleeing the Swat valley and surrounding regions in northwest Pakistan.
"We are of course very concerned about the well-being of civilians who are fleeing the fighting in the area," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said. "And we have personnel, USAID personnel, on the ground in Pakistan, not in the Swat valley, but in Pakistan, who are directing assistance to help them."
"We've provided a substantial amount of money through the International Organization for Migration," Kelly said at his daily briefing in Washington. "This is primarily to provide tents, provide shelter and emergency relief supplies, food and medicine to the affected populations."
Kelly said the $5 million was just an initial payment.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A senior diplomat in the Obama administration Sunday challenged former Vice President Dick Cheney’s assessment of the new administration’s ability to keep the country safe.
Cheney was asked two weeks ago on CNN’s State of the Union whether he thought President Obama had made the country less safe since taking office. “I do,” Cheney told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “He is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack,” the former vice president added.
But U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke, a senior diplomat in Obama’s State Department, said Sunday that he didn’t understand where Cheney was coming from with his criticism.
“I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about,” Holbrooke said,
“We are treating Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater. We are going to address it in an integrated way. We are going to give it more resources. And that is where the people planning the next attack on the United States or on our European allies are certainly doing it. So I just do not understand what his comments were referenced to.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – On the same day that President Obama reiterated his commitment to strike high-value targets inside Pakistan’s borders, two of his senior aides who are intimately involved with pursuing U.S. strategy in the area spoke frankly about the challenges posed by Pakistan.
“Well, we have had our ups and downs,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union when asked whether there was trust between the U.S. and Pakistani governments.
“How much more difficult is it if you can’t be sure that you share a secret?” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who appeared together with Petraeus on the program. “You share some sensitive information with somebody in Pakistan and there is a history of this information being passed on to the security services and then in some cases pass on to al Qaeda and the Taliban?”
“Well, of course, you’re absolutely, right,” Holbrooke responded. “It’s a huge concern for General Petraeus and me.” Holbrooke also noted that Leon Panetta made his first overseas trip as CIA director to the Pakistan region. “This is going to be his focus,” Holbrooke added.
Holbrooke also said Sunday that the U.S. intended to work on “the trust deficit” between the U.S. and Pakistan. “The relationship between Pakistan and the United States is immensely complicated and it isn’t quite where it should be,” the seasoned diplomat told King.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just days after President Obama announced his comprehensive plan for the next phase of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, a senior diplomat in the new administration sought to put to rest any comparison between Afghanistan and Vietnam wars.
Watch: Obama's 'Af-Pak' strategy
“I served in Vietnam for three and a half years and I’m aware of certain structural similarities,” Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday.
“But there’s a fundamental difference - the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese never posed any direct threat to the United States and its homeland. The people we are fighting in Afghanistan and the people they are sheltering in Western Pakistan, pose a direct threat. Those are the men of 9-11, the people who killed Benazir Bhutto and you can be sure that as we sit here today, they are planning further attacks on the United States and our allies.”