Clinton to detail aid to Pakistan

May 19, 2009 8:52:07 AM PDT
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is planning to detail plans for U.S. humanitarian aid to Pakistan, part of the administration's new strategy for countering the appeal of Taliban militants in the nuclear-armed American ally. Clinton will announce the aid package late Tuesday morning at the White House. An administration official said the aid package would amount to about $10 million to help Pakistani refugees who have fled fighting in the country's Swat Valley and are living in squalid tent cities. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the aid details had not been announced.

Pakistan's army is engaged in major combat in Swat, in response to attempts by armed Islamic militants to solidify their hold on the region. Pakistan reluctantly undertook the offensive under pressure from the United States after Taliban fighters had taken positions within 60 miles of the capital, Islamabad. The military says more than 1,000 insurgents have so far been killed in the fighting, which has forced nearly 1.5 million people to flee from the area.

President Barack Obama has spoken of the need to improve the lives of people in both Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of the administration's new plan for linking the U.S. fight against the resurgent Taliban in the two countries.

The Taliban has provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and his top al-Qaida leadership along the lawless and mountainous border shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan.


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