x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

US diplomat Holbrooke in critical condition

The US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan is in a critical condition after surgery to repair a tear to an artery in his heart.

WASHINGTON // Veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke was in a critical condition today after doctors completed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, the US State Department said in a statement.

Mr Holbrooke, 69, named special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan when President Barack Obama took office in 2009, earned a reputation as a "bulldozer" in helping negotiate the 1995 accord that ended the Balkans war.

The diplomat, who also served as the US ambassador to the United Nations and to Germany and twice was assistant secretary of state, fell ill at the State Department on Friday and was taken to the hospital.

The aorta is the body's biggest artery, which are vessels that transport blood away from the heart to other parts of the body.