Clinton in Pakistan on Key Mission
VOA News 18 July 2010
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan at the start of a tour of South Asia aimed at refining the goals of the nearly 9-year war in Afghanistan.
She arrived Sunday in Islamabad where she will underscore the need for cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan in winning the war.
Clinton will meet with top military and civilian leaders during her 2-day visit. She also is expected to announce new development programs for Pakistan.
The $7.5 billion package, approved by the U.S. Congress last year, triples non-military aid to the country over a five-year period. The aid is part of an initiative to temper anti-American sentiment in Pakistan by strengthening infrastructure in water, energy, agriculture and health.
After Pakistan, Clinton will attend an international conference on Afghanistan in Kabul Tuesday. U.S. officials hope it will highlight the Afghan government's plan to improve governance and stability in the war-torn country.
The conference will be attended by representatives from 70 countries.
It is to focus on steps the Afghan government is taking to reintegrate insurgents into society and crack down on widespread corruption.
During the meeting, Britain is expected to announce a 40 percent increase in development aid to Afghanistan.
The meeting comes as security conditions deteriorate in Afghanistan, and Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces struggle to control a rising Taliban insurgency.
Meanwhile, a British newspaper reports that coalition forces will soon formally agree to hand over security in the country to Afghan forces by 2014.
The Independent on Sunday says its report is based on a leaked communiqué sent to senior diplomats by the United Nations special representative in Afghanistan. British or U.S. defense officials have not confirmed the report, but Britain's defense secretary has said previously that Afghan forces should take over security control by 2014
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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