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Holbrooke Still 'Critical' After Surgery


Richard Holbrooke

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains in a hospital in critical condition following emergency surgery to repair a tear in his aorta.

Holbrooke, 69, fell ill at the State Department in Washington on December 10 and was admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment of the life-threatening damage to the large artery that moves blood from the heart.

In a new statement, the State Department said Holbrooke on December 12 "underwent an additional procedure to improve circulation" following the surgery, and that the diplomat "remains in critical condition."

The statement added that Holbrooke's wife has received telephone calls from Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Holbrooke's illness comes ahead of the scheduled release by the White House this week of a review of the U.S. strategy against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Before his lastest posting, which has he has held for the past two years, Holbrooke was noted for helping negotiate the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the Bosnian war.

compiled from agency reports