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Obama panel to recommend civilian aid to Pak

The Obama Administration panel appointed to review its Afghan policy is likely to recommend massive civilian aid to Pakistan and tools like helicopters for its counterinsurgency operations against terrorists, a media report said.

world Updated: Mar 20, 2009 15:09 IST

The Obama Administration panel appointed to review its Afghan policy is likely to recommend massive civilian aid to Pakistan and tools like helicopters for its counterinsurgency operations against terrorists, a media report said on Friday.

The panel will recommend “intense engagement” with Pakistan, including a massive, long-term increase in economic aid and more helicopters to fight Islamic militants, the Washington Times said.

Obama is soon expected to announce his Afghan-Pak policy, as his team is busy giving final touches to it.

Referring to interviews with unnamed sources, The Post said the new strategy includes sending hundreds of additional civilians - diplomats and contractors - to aid in humanitarian and development efforts in Afghanistan.

“The US also will ask its European allies to provide instructors for the Afghan police and will seek to expand the Afghan army from 70,000 troops at present to at least 200,000,” the Post said.

With Pakistan being considered as root to the instability in the region, it said: “One element of the new US strategy is a massive increase in nonmilitary aid to Pakistan.”

Senator John Kerry has already announced his intention to introduce a legislation in the Senate that would triple the non-military aid to Pakistan to about $1.5 billion per annum for the next ten years.