Holbrooke rejects reports of being sidelined on Af-Pak front

Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 21:45

Washington: Dismissing reports that he has been sidelined by the Obama administration from major events relating to Afghanistan and Pakistan, US special envoy for the region Richard Holbrooke has said he had a tight schedule all these days and was not told to stay away from the public eye.
"I didn`t know I was missing in action because I was kind of busy all day," Holbrooke told `The Cable`, the online blog of `The Foreign Policy` magazine.

He denied reports that the White House had instructed him to lay low or stay out of the public eye, now that John Kerry, the Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had been seen taking lead on the Af-Pak front.

Holbrooke`s comments follow reports in the local media about his marginalisation by the Obama administration raising question marks over his future.

On the day when President Hamid Karzai and his main rival Abdullah Abdullah agreed to US plea for a run-off in elections in Afghanistan and Obama thanked them for this, Holbrooke was nowhere in action, the reports said.

Holbrooke also did not figure on the thanksgiving list of Obama, who at a joint press conference with Iraqi Premier Noori al-Maliki on Tuesday, publicly acknowledged the efforts of Kerry and US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry.

Ten months after his appointment as special envoy for the region, "Holbrooke was anchored in Washington and far from the front lines of diplomacy that led to Tuesday`s Afghan election deal," `The Washington Times` said.

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First Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 21:45

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