Al Qaeda threatens US from Afghan-Pakistan safe haven: Obama

April 10th, 2009 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 10 (IANS) Seeking another $83.4 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Barack Obama once again highlighted the threat of Al Qaeda and a “resurgent” Taliban from safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The situation in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan “demands urgent attention”, Obama said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi submitting the funding request to the US Congress.

“The Taliban is resurgent, and Al Qaeda threatens America from its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border,” he wrote.

“There is no question of the resolve of our military women and men. Yet, in Afghanistan, that resolve has not been matched by a comprehensive strategy and sufficient resources,” Obama added.

The request for additional funds is expected to pay for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq for the rest of the 2009 budget year, CNN reported citing Democratic Congressional sources.

About $75 billion of the latest request would pay for military operations, including $9.8 billion for body armour and protective vehicles and $11.6 billion to replace worn-out equipment.

The rest would go to diplomatic programmes and development aid - including $1.6 billion for Afghanistan, $1.4 billion for Pakistan and $700 million for Iraq.

The money would bring the running tab for both conflicts to about $947 billion, according to figures from the Congressional Research Service. More than three-quarters of the $864 billion appropriated so far has gone to the war in Iraq, the agency estimated.

Since taking office in January, President Obama has announced plans to shift troops out of Iraq and beef up US forces in Afghanistan, where they have been battling Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Obama has ordered the deployment of 17,000 troops to fight the Taliban in the south and east and 4,000 more to train Afghan troops.

The president urged Congress to move quickly on the request “and not to use the supplemental to pursue unnecessary spending”.

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