October 23rd, 2009
04:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Secretary Clinton will visit Pakistan 'soon,' official says

Secretary Clinton will visit Pakistan 'soon,' official says.

Secretary Clinton will visit Pakistan 'soon,' official says.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senior U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke announced Friday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Pakistan "soon," but said details of the trip would be withheld for security reasons.

"So I am not going to talk about timing, details or who she [Clinton] is going to see.," Holbrooke said at a special briefing at the State Department. "Except to say she will see the leadership of the country, the leading members of the opposition, civic society, businessmen and as many people as she can in a limited period of time, with the limits of a very, very dramatic situation going on."

Clinton's visit comes as Pakistan is fighting a major military offensive against the Taliban - and reeling from a wave of terror attacks that have caused hundreds of deaths. The country also faces new tensions with the U.S.

Holbrooke, as other U.S. officials have done in recent weeks, again said that billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Pakistan places no conditions on the government or the military there. Pakistan politicians have accused the U.S. of meddling and micro managing.

"There are no conditions in the [aid] bill," Holbrooke said. "There are no conditions."

On Afghanistan, Holbrooke denied that he had been invisible in recent dealings with Afghanistan.

His formal title is Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and until recently he was the highly visible point man for the administration in that part of the world.

But new questions about his role surfaced during intense consultations with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai over whether Karzai would agree to a run-off election. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, was public and prominent in marathon, face-to-face talks with Karzai, eclipsing Holbrooke's role.

"I'm not sure how to answer that. I'd like to make a joke and say I'm always happy to be eclipsed by John Kerry but then you'd take it seriously and that will cause more problems," Holbrooke said with a smile on his face.

Holbrooke said his regular visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan were right on schedule, and that he had said he would come back right after the elections.

"My job is to be here [in Washington] to help staff Secretary Clinton and prepare for these extensive [White House] meetings in which both she and I participate," Holbrooke said.

The attention paid to Kerry prompted a New York Times editorial to ask if Holbrooke was taking a secondary role.

"Like many, we wonder what happened to Mr. Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, who established a bureaucratic fiefdom at the State Department but has been neither seen nor heard from during this critical period," the Times editorial said

Holbrooke also denied on Friday that his relationship with Karzai was strained to the breaking point.

"In terms of my relations with President Karzai, they are fine. They are correct, they are appropriate. I speak to him on behalf of my governmentÉI personally look forward to seeing him in a few days. I have absolutely no problems with him. And it is as simple as that."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pakistan
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Have a safe trip Madam Secretary.

    October 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. tpbco

    More photo ops with helicopters and machine gun fire ...no doubt.

    October 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Can't wait till 2010

    The sound you just heard is her husband dialing up some old flames, just so he can lie about it later and she will ignore it as she needs him.

    Hope she doesn't take on sniper fire while there, oops, that never happened did it?

    She was still SUPERIOR to Obama in every facet of the Presidency, I would NOT vote for Obama for dog catcher that's how inept he uh, uh, uh, uh, uh is.

    Hilary please run in 2012, let Jawwwwn Kerry become SOS, you would at least get something down and not in a leftist kind of way.

    October 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Why doesn't Hillary just.......


    She has been pre-empted by Biden and she has no clout or decision making resdponsibility.

    If she had any self-respect left, she'd resign.

    October 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    What, Obama needs someone to deliver another check?
    Doesn't FedEx offer Proof of Delivery in Islamabad?

    October 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. John

    You are the Best Hillary.

    Palin is not a Match to you.

    You are doing a great service to our Country. God Bless You.

    October 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. DJ

    8 years of Bush and nothing got done. 9 months of Obama and Pakistan launched its biggest offensive against the enemy. Dick Cheney is an idiot.

    October 23, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Carlos

    As "soon" as they let her out of her office.

    October 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. kaleto

    Hillary will find bin Laden 'soon'. Maybe while in Pakistan she can do what she promised long ago and actually bring him in...yeah, right!

    It's a lot easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize than actually participate in foreign affairs, eh, Hillary?

    October 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Grrr-awful-o

    "As the world turns"... in the impressively efficient Obama administration. In fact, they're handling things so impressively I think we should turn over our healthcare to them.

    October 23, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Sue

    The Bomb is AFRAID of Hillary. That's why he keeps sending her AWAY – like Georgie did with Condoleeza!!!!!!!!
    So I guess they are truly alike men in their POWER addictions!

    October 23, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. STILL unemployed in Iowa

    Should have voted for Clinton, because Obama is a JOKE.

    October 23, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |