Britain to increase aid to Pakistan

July 4, 2008 at 1:36 AM
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LONDON, July 4 (UPI) -- Britain plans to double its aid to Pakistan, with more than half to be spent on education intended to counter Islamist militants, the government said Thursday.

Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary, released details of a 480-million-pound ($960 million) appropriation, The Times of London reported. Britain hopes to use its money to help the Pakistan government fight militant Islamists.

The increase would make Pakistan the second-largest recipient of British aid. Britain also plans, for the first time, to spend money in the Tribal Areas and other regions along the Afghanistan border that have become a stronghold for the Taliban.

At least 250 million pounds ($500 million) will go for schools and especially for increasing literacy among girls.

"You can't have any real successful efforts to counter radicalism without education," said Robert Templer, director of the Asia Program at the International Crisis Group. "It's desperately needed. If this area isn't dealt with, it's going to be a festering problem for decades to come."

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