Kerry seeks $742m in aid for Pakistan, Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON: Requesting $742 million in aid to Pakistan, US Secretary of State John Kerry told US lawmakers on Tuesday that the Obama administration was helping Afghanistan and Pakistan fight terrorism.

“We are helping Afghanistan and Pakistan to counter violent extremism, deepening our strategic dialogue with India, supporting democratic gains in Sri Lanka and Burma and encouraging the peaceful resolution of competing maritime claims in the South China Sea, a goal that is definitely not helped by militarization of facilities in that region,” Kerry said.

In his testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said the State Department has requested $ 742 million in aid to Pakistan to support its citizens as they seek security, build democracy and sustain economic growth and development – even as the country continues to suffer from terrorist attacks.

According to Reuters, the committee chairman, Bob Corker, sharply questioned US plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan as he questioned Pakistan’s actions.

“They continue to support the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and give safe haven to al Qaeda,” Republican Senator Corker said to Kerry, who was testifying to the committee about the State Department’s annual budget request.

Kerry responded that the issue is complicated and said Pakistan also has been an ally.

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