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Asia Crisis

Afghanistan/Pakistan envoy Holbrooke going to region

(Adds details, background)

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke will make his first trip to the region next week after stopping in Germany for a security conference, the State Department said on Thursday.

Holbrooke, a foreign policy veteran who negotiated the 1995 peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war, was appointed a special representative to the region last week by President Barack Obama.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Holbrooke would stop at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in Germany on Tuesday to confer with European leaders before heading to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Wood did not say if Holbrooke would visit other countries in the region such as India.

"He wants to go and touch base with various leaders in the region," Wood said.

Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations, faces a daunting challenge in dealing with the war in Afghanistan and its tense and fragile border with Pakistan.

Obama has ordered a review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan after promising during the presidential campaign to boost troop levels there to deal with growing violence and a resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda.

New U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at her confirmation hearing that a broader strategy was needed in Afghanistan that includes diplomacy, defense and development. (Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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