Richard Holbrooke

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White House Squabbles Cost Us in Afghanistan

Key adviser trampled by opponents within administration

(Newser) - A new book gives an in-depth look at the Obama White House as officials made momentous choices about the war in Afghanistan—and author Rajiv Chandrasekaran sees some major missteps. Among them: Despite former top Afghanistan adviser Richard Holbrooke's expertise on ending wars—he played a role in peace... More »

Security Woes Force US to Drop Afghan Consulate

Site in Mazar-e Sharif cost $80M to prepare

(Newser) - Washington has abandoned a plan to open a consulate in northern Afghanistan after signing a 10-year lease and dishing out more than $80 million for the site, the Washington Post reports. American officials cited rising security concerns, but planners apparently overlooked problems from the beginning in a rush to prove... More »

After Death, What Holbrooke Really Thought Revealed

Friends to the late special envoy want his true opinions known

(Newser) - In life, Richard Holbrooke was loyal to the Obama administration, but since his December death, his widow and friends have decided that it is important people know the true opinions of this special envoy to the Af-Pak region, writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times —including what Holbrooke... More »

US Holding Direct, Secret Talks With Taliban

New Yorker: They're preliminary but mark a shift in strategy

(Newser) - The US is for the first time holding direct talks with senior Taliban officials in Afghanistan, reports Steve Coll in the New Yorker . He characterizes them as "exploratory" and not as formal peace negotiations, noting that supreme leader Mullar Omar is not a participant. The intent is to pave... More »

Marc Grossman New Envoy to Pakistan, Afghanistan

Former ambassador replaces Richard Holbrooke

(Newser) - Former ambassador to Egypt Marc Grossman will be coming out of retirement to take up one of the toughest jobs in diplomacy, administration officials say. Grossman, after months of wrangling between the White House and the State Department, is to become the new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, filling... More »

White House: Holbrooke's 'Last Words' Made in Jest

He was joshing with the medical staff, says State Department

(Newser) - The White House is taking issue with today's heavy coverage of the last words attributed to Richard Holbrooke: "Stop this war in Afghanistan." Far from being a melodramatic plea, it was actually part of a lighthearted back-and-forth with the medical staff, says the State Department's PJ Crowley. It... More »

Holbrooke's Last Words: End Afghanistan War

Veteran diplomat made plea for peace on his way to surgery

(Newser) - Richard Holbrooke's dying wish was for an end to the war in Afghanistan, family members say. As he was heading into surgery in a Washington hospital, the late American special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan told his Pakistani surgeon, "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan," relatives... More »

Diplomat Richard Holbrooke Dead at 69

He was President Obama's envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan

(Newser) - Richard Holbrooke, a brilliant and feisty US diplomat who wrote part of the Pentagon Papers, was the architect of the 1995 Bosnia peace plan, and served as President Obama's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, died today, an administration official said. He was 69. The official spoke on condition of... More »

Envoy Richard Holbrooke in Critical Condition

He had surgery to repair torn aorta

(Newser) - Richard Holbrooke, the president's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is in critical condition at a Washington hospital after surgery this morning to repair a tear in his aorta. He fell ill at the State Department yesterday. The veteran diplomat, 69, is perhaps best known for helping broker the 1995... More »

US: Iran Welcome at Afghan Talks

Tehran, who 'has a role to play,' sends representative to meeting

(Newser) - Iran sent a representative to an international pow-wow on the Afghan war today, and the US says it didn’t mind one bit. “We were asked whether we had any problems with that and we said 'No,’” Richard Holbrooke tells Reuters . “We recognize that Iran, with... More »

White House Torn Apart By Afghan War

Bob Woodward book reveals deep fault lines over war policy

(Newser) - The Obama White House is a simmering pot of anger and disagreement, with too many bickering chefs handling of the war in Afghanistan, according to a new book by Bob Woodward that exposes deep rifts in the administration. Here, via the New York Times , are some of the juicy bits... More »

McChrystal Trashes White House in Rolling Stone

Top general and aides slam Biden, Holbrooke, Jones, Eikenberry—and Obama

(Newser) - America's top commander in Afghanistan has apologized for a Rolling Stone profile that depicts him as a "lone wolf" at odds with the Obama administration and his own troops. In the profile—which hits newsstands Friday—Gen. Stanley McChrystal says he felt "betrayed" by US ambassador to Afghanistan... More »

Karzai, White House Mend Fences; Visit On

Afghan president will travel to Washington next month as scheduled

(Newser) - The Obama administration and Hamid Karzai have buried the hatchet, and the Afghan president will visit Washington next month as scheduled, reports the Washington Post . The White House had threatened to call off the visit because of Karzai's recent shenanigans—including a vow to join the Taliban if Afghanistan's Western... More »

Unlikely Allies Help Obama in Afghanistan

White House engages with Russia, China, and more, and gets results

(Newser) - Diplomacy has become a major part of Barack Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan; the administration has been proactively recruiting regional allies, even ones that seem like strange bedfellows. Russia, for example, which suffered its own defeat in Afghanistan in part thanks to US covert operations, recently gave a general authorization... More »

Weak Afghan al-Qaeda Calls Surge Into Question

Whether Taliban will facilitate or shun terror group is up in the air

(Newser) - The principal rationale for the original US invasion of Afghanistan was the elimination of an al-Qaeda safe haven. Almost a decade later, the terrorist group is much diminished there, as well as in Pakistan, prompting serious second thoughts within the administration about ramping up forces in the region. Aides to... More »

Obama's Top Advisers Split on Afghan Troop Levels

(Newser) - President Obama's advisers are divided over the Pentagon's expected request for more troops to be deployed to Afghanistan, reports the New York Times. Joe Biden is leading the just-say-no camp, arguing that the mission in Pakistan is more important. The opposition includes envoy Richard Holbrooke, who says US troops are... More »

US Envoy Gets Hot With Karzai Over Fraud

Source says Holbrooke meeting with Afghan prez was 'explosive,' 'dramatic bust-up'

(Newser) - The top US envoy to Afghanistan held an “explosive” meeting with President Hamid Karzai last week, sources tell the BBC, with the “dramatic bust-up” focused on reports of election fraud. The meeting was held a day after the Aug. 20 election, before any results were released, but Richard... More »

US Commanders: We Need More Troops in Afghanistan

(Newser) - American military officials leading the NATO mission in Afghanistan told the Obama administration they need more troops to do their job, compounding Washington's headaches in the wake of an allegedly fraudulent presidential election. Support for the Afghan war is diving among Americans, and several US senators said this weekend that... More »

US Said to Press Secret Afghan Election Deal

Holbrooke allegedly talked to candidate about dropping out

(Newser) - With two weeks to go before the Afghanistan election, President Hamid Karzai is trying to cut a deal with a fellow Pashtun to help knock his main challenger out of the race. The Independent reports that American envoy Richard Holbrooke and the US ambassador have pushed for the deal, which... More »

US to Change Tactics in Afghan Drug War

(Newser) - The US is changing tactics in its war against the Afghan opium trade, the AP reports. Rather than targeting crops for eradication, the US will focus on interdiction and alternative crop programs. A top administration official called eradication “a waste of money” that failed to divert “a single... More »

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