Holbrooke touts U.S. aid to Pakistan

June 4, 2009 at 7:14 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 4 (UPI) -- The United States has given more than half of all the aid Pakistan has received to help its displaced persons in the northwest, envoy Richard Holbrooke said.

Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad along with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the U.S. special envoy to the region said the Obama administration has asked Congress for an additional $200 million for the more than 2 million refugees displaced by the fighting between the Pakistani military and Taliban militants in the Swat Valley region, the BBC reported.

"The United States will now have given well over half of all the assistance that your country has received from the world in regard to the refugee crisis. I must say in all frankness I think other countries can and should do more," Holbrooke was quoted as saying.

He dismissed as ludicrous accusations in a taped message purportedly by al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden that U.S. pressure forced the military offensive in Swat Valley which forced the people to flee, the report said.

Holbrooke said he hoped Pakistanis would appreciate the help the United States has given.

Zardari was quoted as saying his government was defending Pakistan against a serious threat.

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