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WASHINGTON – The Obama administration plans to seek as much as $3 billion over the next five years to train and equip Pakistan's military, and is considering sending 10,000 more troops to battle the Taliban in Afghanistan, defense officials said Wednesday.
The money would include $500 million in an additional war budget request for the coming year that will go to Congress this month, The Associated Press has learned.
In outlining the spending program publicly for the first time, defense officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee it is critical to train and equip the Pakistanis so they have the skills and will to fight.
The $3 billion for Pakistan would complement a plan for $7.5 billion in civilian aid. That civilian request would come in legislation sponsored by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, and the committee's top Republican, Richard Lugar of Indiana.
With the administration's backing, their bill would provide $1.5 billion next year, linked to Pakistan's counterterrorism and democracy-building efforts, officials said.
Defense and other administration officials spoke about the spending plans on condition of anonymity because the specific budget requests have not been released.