Washington, Mar. 27 (ANI): In a bid to strengthen Pakistan's civilian government, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry has vowed to increase economic aid to Pakistan.
"Our strategy must also reflect the interconnectedness of the region's challenges. This requires redoubling our efforts to strengthen Pakistan's civilian government and support its activities against militants in the Tribal Areas," the Daily Times quoted Kerry, as saying.
At the confirmation hearing for US ambassador-designate to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Kerry along with Senator Richard Lugar pledged to 'soon' reintroduce a bill on expanding economic assistance that would increase socio-economic assistance for Pakistan to 1.5 billion dollars.
The measure - called the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act - was introduced in the Senate last year by Vice President Joseph Biden, but the 110th Congress could not take it up.
Speaking on the Afghan insurgency, Kerry said Washington "also needs to reach out to Afghanistan's other neighbors, including India, China, and Iran".
He noted that in 2001 and 2002, Iran helped to stabilize Afghanistan, and "the administration is right to explore how our interests might coincide again on this issue, beginning at the Hague Conference next week".
On the US war in Afghanistan, Kerry said Washington "went into Afghanistan to hunt down Al Qaeda and to replace the Taliban rulers who harbored them with a legitimate government strong enough to avoid destabilizing a vital and volatile region. Today, that demands a more robust commitment." (ANI)