The budget seeks to further the US goal of a stable South Asia by supporting the Afghan government and security forces in their fight against Taliban and jihadist organisations such as al Qaeda and ISIS.
The White House said in its proposals to the Congress: “The budget requests more than $5 billion for continued US training and assistance for the Afghan security forces,”
It would also enable US forces to conduct counterterrorism operations to ensure that the region cannot be used by jihadist terrorist groups to plot transnational attacks against the US homeland, citizens overseas or allies and partners.
The budget proposals for the fiscal year 2019, beginning October 1, 2018, include funding to support America’s partnership with Pakistan, contingent on Islamabad taking appropriate action to expand cooperation with the US.
A requent for more than $630 million in civilian assistance supports Trump’s new strategy to empower the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future.
In addition, the budget strengthens and sustains improvements in education, health, governance, and other sectors that are essential for securing a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, the White House said.
It allows the United States to honour the pledge made at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, which anticipated gradually declining assistance levels.
It requests $256 million for Pakistan in economic and other assistance to help increase stability, promote economic growth and create opportunities for US businesses.
By Lalit K Jha, Washington