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Obama Seeks $2.6b for Afghanistan in 2015 Budget

Obama Seeks $2.6b for Afghanistan in 2015

WASHINGTON – Seeking more than $2.6 billion for the programme in Afghanistan in the budget proposals for 2015, the Obama administration on Tuesday said Washington eyed a long-term partnership with Kabul post-2014. Submitting the $3.9 trillion budget package to the Congress, Obama said his administration was serious about the zero option in the absence of a signed bilateral security agreement between Washington and Kabul, Pajhwok correspondent in Washington reported.

The budget includes $46.2 billion to fund the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID). US assistance for other countries, including Pakistan, comes from this fund. The $1bn sought for Pakistan includes $280 million for supporting Pakistani security forces. The Obama administration is seeking $2.6bn for operations in Afghanistan and $1.5bn for Iraq, including $250m to support the Iraqi military.

The White House described in the document “responsible transition” from “military missions to political and security support for a unified Afghanistan government” as one of the administration’s main goals in 2015. In its budget note, the White House says that it wants the Afghan government to take “full responsibility for its own future” as the US withdraws.

The war-funding measure is being delayed because the Afghan government has not signed the bilateral security pact. In the proposals, the White House says the funds for Afghanistan include resources to maintain a strong, long-term partnership by supporting military training and assistance.

The Afghan programmes include economic development, health, education, governance, security, and other civilian assistance necessary to reinforce development progress and promote stability. The White House says American and coalition forces will continue to train and sustain Afghan forces after 2014.

The US will work collaboratively with Afghan forces to target Al-Qaeda and other entities that threaten the safety and security of the US and its allies. Proposing $1.107 billion in civilian aid to Afghanistan, the State Department argued it was necessary for the continued security and economic transitions in the country.

The department believed the Afghan transitions were  the most critical phase of solidifying the progress made over the last decade and helping establish Afghanistan as a stable, prosperous, secure nation in a stable prosperous, secure region. “Fiscal Year 2015 assistance will focus on promoting economic growth by investing in viable sectors including agriculture and extractives, improved governance, a better system of justice, and alternatives to the illicit production of narcotics.” (Pajhwok)

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