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More aid needed for struggling Pakistan: Holbrooke

World donors must keep supporting Pakistan as it battles militants and tries to repair its economy, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke said, one day after Islamabad secured more than $5 billion in fresh aid. Donors including the United States, Japan, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Iran pledged more than $5 billion in fresh aid over two years at the conference in Tokyo after President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to step up the fight against militants.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2009 09:56 IST

World donors must keep supporting Pakistan as it battles militants and tries to repair its economy, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke said on Saturday, one day after Islamabad secured more than $5 billion in fresh aid.

Donors including the United States, Japan, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Iran pledged more than $5 billion in fresh aid over two years at the conference in Tokyo after President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to step up the fight against militants.

The pledges, bigger than an expected $4 billion, reflect the international community's worries that an economic meltdown in nuclear-armed Pakistan, propped up with a $7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund over two years, could fan popular support for al Qaeda and other militant groups.

"Five billion dollars is not enough for Pakistan," Holbrooke told a news conference, noting Pakistan faced huge economic challenges as well. "The terrorists in western Pakistan are planning other attacks around the world," he added.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that they are planning other attacks as we sit here in Tokyo and other capitals ... around the world, so we need to work hard to strengthen the government of Pakistan, to deal with the tribal areas with all its problems.

"After congratulating ourselves on yesterday, we should remind ourselves that the problem is far from over."

Pakistan is central to US President Barack Obama's plan for South Asia. That plan includes trying to stabilise Afghanistan where Taliban militants, many operating from lawless enclaves in northwest Pakistan, have thrown the effort into doubt.