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U.S. State Dept. convinces congress to upgrade Pak F16ís fund

16 September, 2008

U.S. State Dept. convinces congress to upgrade Pak F16ís fund
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WASHINGTON: Despite recent territorial tensions with Pakistan, the Bush administration is prepared to fight an uphill battle with Congress over the proposed use of counterterrorism funds to upgrade Pakistan`s F-16 fighters today. The State Department believes it has the authority to implement.

However, assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said the Department was trying to work it out with Congress.

Lawmakers plan to hold a hearing today to grill administration officials on the suitability of F-16`s in Pakistani counterterrorism operations amidst fears that Pakistan may want the upgrades to counter India.

Boucher justified the proposed shift in funding by citing the hundreds of sorties flown in recent months that had targeted militants in the tribal areas.

End.

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