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Clinton urges US Congress not to cut 'important' Pakistan aid

Washington, Wed, 02 Mar 2011 ANI

Washington, Mar 2(ANI): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Congress not to cut American aid to Pakistan even as lawmakers raised concerns about the continued incarceration of double murder-accused CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore.


After urging lawmakers not to reduce US aid to Kabul, Clinton said: "Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with strong ties and interests in Afghanistan."


"We are working to deepen our partnership and keep it focused on addressing Pakistan's political and economic challenges as well as our shared threats," the Dawn quoted Clinton, as telling the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


But the committee's chairperson Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Pakistan "must also do more to meet pressing US concerns, including the release of Raymond Davis, our detained American diplomat".


The Republican lawmaker from Florida emphasised that Pakistan should also shift its "approach to Afghanistan away from armed proxies and towards constructive and legitimate political partners".


The guiding principle for US policies was "the safety of our men and women serving with distinction in Afghanistan, and that country's transition to a more stable and democratic future," she noted.


Clinton told the congressional panel that the assistance being sought by the Obama administration for Pakistan and Afghanistan was part of "a few of our key investments" and "funds vital civilian missions" in those countries.


"Alongside our military offensive, we are engaged in a major civilian effort that is helping to build up the governments, economies, and civil societies of both countries and undercut the insurgency," she added.


Besides increasing its civilian and military activities in Afghanistan, the US administration is also seeking money for a new diplomatic push in that country in 2011.


Clinton said this diplomatic push would support an Afghan process to split the Taliban from Al Qaeda, bring the conflict to an end, and help stabilise the region.


"Our military commanders are emphatic they cannot succeed without a strong civilian partner. Retreating from our civilian surge in Afghanistan with our troops still in the field would be a grave mistake," she warned. (ANI)


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