Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, will also visit India on a trip to the region starting next week.
Holbrooke was to leave on Wednesday for London en route to Germany, where he will attend the Munich Security Conference that begins on Friday. From there he will travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, in that order, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said. No dates were given for the visit. “He’ll stay there as long as he feels he needs to,” Wood said.
Asked why Holbrooke was visiting India though it was not on his agenda, Wood said, “India’s an important country in the region and has interests in Afghanistan, and he wants to hear from the Indian government in terms of how we can all better contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
Holbrooke, Wood said, was not planning on bringing up the Kashmir issue. “Kashmir was never part of his portfolio.”
Wood said Holbrooke was not carrying any messages to any of the governments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama. “This is an orientation trip.... He’s not going there to lecture. He’s going there to listen, and then he’ll report back to the secretary and the president.”