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Holbrooke is new special envoy for Afghanistan,Pak

The Obama administration has appointed diplomatic trouble shooter Richard Holbrooke as its special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Written by Agencies | Washington | Published: January 23, 2009 2:36:55 pm

The Obama administration has appointed diplomatic trouble shooter Richard Holbrooke as its special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and the new envoy immediately said that he would soon head towards the troubled region in South Asia.

The appointment of Holbrooke,former US ambassador to United Nations,who brokered the peace deal that ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 bloody war,was announced along with former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell,who was named new US envoy for Middle East.

Signaling that his administration is moving quickly to reshape US national security policy,President Barack Obama said: “Afghanistan and Pakistan are the central front in America’s war against terrorism and deteriorating situation in the region poses grave threat to the global security.”

Soon after his appointment,Holbrooke termed the situation in Pakistan as “extremely complex” and said that he would soon head towards the troubled region in South Asia to have a firsthand assessment of the situation on the ground.

“I wish to get out to the region and report back to the Secretary,the Vice President,and the President,” he said in his acceptance speech soon after he was appointed.

“I don’t think I would advance our goals if I tried to discuss it today,” he said on Thursday in presence of the Obama and the Vice President Joe Biden,besides Hillary Clinton at a function held at the State Department headquarters.

Announcing his appointment,Clinton said in this new capacity Holbrooke will coordinate across the entire government an effort to achieve United States’ strategic goals in the region.

This effort will be closely coordinated,not only within the State Department and with United States Agency for International Development (USAID),but also with the Defence Department and under the coordination of the National Security Council,Clinton said.

Holbrooke said in putting Afghanistan and Pakistan together under one envoy,“we should underscore that we fully respect the fact that Pakistan has its own history,its own traditions,and it is far more than the turbulent,dangerous tribal areas on its western border.”

He said Afghanistan and Pakistan are two very distinct countries with extraordinarily different histories,and yet intertwined by geography,ethnicity,and the current drama.

Acknowledging that this is a very difficult assignment,he said: “Nobody can say the war in Afghanistan has gone well,and yet,as we speak here today,American men and women and their coalition partners are fighting a very difficult struggle against a ruthless and determined enemy without any scruples at all,an enemy that is willing to behead women who dare to teach in a school to young girls,an enemy that has done some of the most odious things on Earth.”

And across the border lurks the greater enemy still,the people who committed the atrocities of September 11,2001,Holbrooke said in his apparent reference to the safe haven in the border regions of Pakistan.

“We know what our long-term objective is. I hope I will be able to fill out the mandate which Secretary Clinton has mentioned to help coordinate a clearly chaotic foreign assistance programme,which must be pulled together,to work closely with General Petraeus,CENTCOM,Admiral Mullen,and the Joint Chiefs of Staff,General McKiernan and the command in Afghanistan,to create a more coherent programme,” he said.

“If our resources are mobilised and coordinated and pulled together,we can quadruple,quintuple,multiply by tenfold the effectiveness of our efforts there,” he hoped.

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