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U.S. Plans Pakistan Sale, Aid

July 18, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is planning its first major military sale to Pakistan since U.S. sanctions against the country were lifted last fall for its cooperation in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

The U.S. Agency for International Development also outlined plans Wednesday for an increased aid program intended to improve Pakistani education and health.

The Defense Department gave Congress the required notification of the possible sale of six C-130 cargo planes and related equipment and services valued at up to $75 million.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force for economic progress in South Asia," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

Pakistan needs the planes to improve airlift capabilities both for its own air force and as it seeks to support the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, the agency said.

Though there have been some small transfers of military spare parts since the sanctions were lifted, the proposed $75-million deal is the largest. Some of the sanctions were imposed after Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998.

USAID, meanwhile, said it would give Pakistan $50 million in aid annually and hoped to raise the amount to $80 million by 2004.

Much of the aid is set aside for improving the quality of and access to health and education services.

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