US House okays $1.5 billion assistance for Pak

The U.S. House of Representative approved on Thursday a $ 48.8 billion State and Foreign Operations bill that authorizes $ 1.519 billion in assistance for Pakistan in the fiscal year 2010, beginning October 1. On the same day, Senate Appropriations Committee also passed its own version of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations measure that provides $ 1.57 billion in aid for Pakistan in 2010 financial year. The differences in versions of the two chambers are to be worked out before Congress sends a final bill to President Barack Obama for his signature. According to the House bill, Afghanistan will get $ 2.695 billion in assistance the year 2010. Besides, the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations also includes a disaster assistance of $830 million, which will be used to help avert famines and provide life-saving assistance during natural disasters and for internally displaced people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world. Pakistan and international forces in Afghanistan are fighting Taliban militants in the border region. In the wake of 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States and NATO have deployed thousands of troops in Afghanistan, which has seen a stiff Taliban insurgency in the last two years. Pakistan has been a frontline state in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban and is currently engaged in a strong offensive against militants in on its side of the border. In the last two years, Pakistan has been the biggest victim of terrorism according to the State Department annual report.

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