Hillary Clinton Seeks Increased Aid to Pakistan

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress on Wednesday that her department was seeking $3.2 billion for Pakistan during the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct 1.

She told a Senate appropriations committee that the money would be spent “to combat extremism, promote economic development, strengthen democratic institutions, and build a long-term relationship with the Pakistani people”.

This includes funding of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman initiative, which pledges $1.5 billion of non-military aid a year for the next five years.

“The budget we are presenting today is designed to protect America and Americans and to advance our interests and values,” she said.

The fiscal year 2011 request for the State Department and USAID totals $52.8 billion. That’s a $4.9 billion increase over 2010.

Of that increase, $3.6 billion will go to supporting US efforts in “frontline states” – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The request also includes a 59 per cent increase in funding for Yemen to help counter the extremist threat and build institutions.

Other funding will grow by $1.3 billion, and that is a 2.7 per cent increase over the last budget.

“With that money we will address global challenges and strengthen partnerships,” Secretary Clinton said.

In Afghanistan, this past year, the US tripled the number of civilians on the ground, and this presence will grow by hundreds more with the $5 billion in this budget.

In Iraq, the US is winding down its military presence and establishing more civilian missions. The budget for Iraq includes $2.6 billion for this purpose.

“The defence budget for Iraq will be decreasing by about $16 billion – and that’s a powerful illustration of the return on civilian investment,” Clinton said.

Source: Dawn “US seeks $3.2bn for Pakistan, says Hillary”

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