By Nico Colombant
U.S special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke died Monday night after undergoing surgery over the weekend to repair a tear in his aorta. Holbrooke’s death comes as President Barack Obama is finalizing a strategy review of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Holbrooke, who was 69-years-old, died at The George Washington University hospital in Washington.
The veteran diplomat had been taken to the hospital on Friday after collapsing during a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
President Obama called Holbrooke a “towering figure in American foreign policy.”
Among Holbrooke’s major accomplishments was helping bring about the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia.
Under former President Bill Clinton, he represented the United States at the United Nations.
During a Congressional committee hearing last year, Holbrooke, the U.S special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, defended the Obama administration’s policy in the region.
“It is not easy, I agree with you,” said Richard Holbrooke. “It is not cheap. Having seen wars on three continents, having been shot at for my country, I sure do not feel comfortable in a situation where you ask brave, young, American men and women to risk their lives and sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice.”
On Tuesday, President Obama will be without Holbrooke as he meets with advisors to assess the past year’s progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The overall strategy review is expected on Thursday.