US rejects Pakistan refugee blame

US envoy tells Al Jazeera Taliban and al-Qaeda responsible for civilian suffering.

    Richard Holbrooke blamed the Taliban for causing
    civilian suffering in Pakistan

    "We have to do something, I recognise the obligation," he said after testifying before the US senate on the White House's strategy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    More than 500,000 people have been displaced in recent fighting in the tribal regions of Pakistan, the UN refugee agency has said.

    Aid package

    In depth


     Q&A: The struggle for Swat
    Talking to the Taliban
    Pakistan's war
     Pakistan diary
     The fight for northwest Pakistan
     Riz Khan: Obama's 'AfPak' strategy
     Riz Khan: The battle for the soul of Pakistan
     Your views: Crisis in Swat

    Holbrooke admitted that there had been indequacies in US strategy towards Pakistan and that there were similarities with the conflict in Vietnam.

    "People ask me if this is another Vietnam and I would say quite frankly there are many similarities ... including, sometimes inadequacies in our own strategies," he told thr senate foreign relations committee. 

    He urged the committee to pass a bill that would triple civilian aid to Pakistan to $7.5bn over the next five years.

    It would put new emphasis on non-military aid with the aim of transforming Pakistani schools, clinics and roads in the tribal regions affected by the fighting.

    "That's the only way that we have a prayer here," Holbrooke said.

    US legislators have criticised the bill saying Pakistan must show greater accountability before the money is signed off.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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