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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Japan, U.S. pledge financial aid to fight Pakistan extremism

RIA Novosti

17/04/2009 11:21 TOKYO, April 17 (RIA Novosti) -Japan and the U.S. on Friday pledged $1 billion each in aid for Pakistan to try prevent the rise of extremism in the country, which has been badly hit by the global economic crisis.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso made the pledge at the opening of an international donors' conference in Tokyo. The forum, organized by Japan jointly with the World Bank and expected to involve 40 countries, is seeking to attract at least $4 billion in international aid for Pakistan to provide support for the country in its struggle with rising insurgency that has spilled over from Afghanistan.

Aso was cited by Kyodo as saying that, "The stability of the border region of the two countries is the key to success, and I would like to stress the need for the international community to support both Pakistan and Afghanistan as they work out their own comprehensive strategies vis-a-vis the border region.''

The U.S., which recently announced it was sending more troops to Afghanistan to tackle Taliban insurgents, also pledged $1 billion for Pakistan.

Special envoy Richard Holbrooke said "We are hoping for a very large collection from many countries."

Taliban fighters have made bases in Pakistan's northwest frontier region, frequently crossing the porous borders to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. The international community sees stability in Pakistan as crucial to maintaining order in war-torn Afghanistan.

Pakistan, a nuclear power, was granted a $ 7.6 billion IMF loan last year to try to prevent a potentially catastrophic economic meltdown.

Pakistani Prime Minister Asif Ali Zadari told journalists "'If we lose, you lose. If we lose, the world loses.''

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