Holbrooke in Stable, Critical Condition, Clinton Says

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is in stable but critical condition following surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Clinton and President Barack Obama lauded Holbrooke’s contributions to U.S. diplomacy and said their thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

“He is simply one of the giants of American foreign policy,” Obama said tonight at a State Department holiday reception. “We’re all praying for Richard’s recovery.”

Clinton called him a “very dear friend” who has taken on some of the toughest diplomatic assignments, from Vietnam to the Balkans to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Our thoughts are with him tonight,” Clinton said.

Holbrooke, 69, underwent an additional seven hours of surgery yesterday after a 20-hour operation to repair the tear in his aorta. Holbrooke was taken to George Washington University Hospital in Washington on Dec. 10 after falling ill while working on the seventh floor of the State Department headquarters, where the Secretary of State’s office is located.

Holbrooke has spent the last two years traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and seeking support from allies to help promote economic development and stabilize the neighboring countries that have been plagued by terrorism.

His wife, Kati Marton, received calls from Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the State Department said yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Indira Lakshmanan in Washington at ilakshmanan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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