Bush seeks 70 billion dollars for Iraq, Afghan war

ST LOUIS - US President George W. Bush on Friday formally asked lawmakers for 70 billion dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into early next year, when his successor takes over.

The budgetary measure includes a request for 770 million dollars in new aid to cope with food shortages and soaring prices that have left many hungry and fueled angry protests around the world.

The request came as Bush's previous 108 billion dollar request for the wars has languished in the US Congress, which is controlled by Democrats who oppose the US involvement in Iraq.

The monies include 45.1 billion dollars for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 3.7 billion to expand and train Afghan security forces, and two billion to bolster Iraq's security forces.

The request also seeks three billion dollars for classified activities, 2.2 billion to cope with rising fuel costs, three billion dollars for technology to battle improvised explosive devices like roadside bombs, and 2.6 billion to transport and maintain armored vehicles resistant to such weapons.

Other items include:

- 400 million dollars to maintain and enhance medical and rehabilitation services associated with traumatic brain injury and psychological health issues for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

- 1.3 billion dollars to buy 28 unmanned aerial drones

- 2.5 billion dollars for diplomatic and reconstruction efforts to thwart terrorists.

- 350 million dollars "to expand stability in the Middle East," including 200 million for the West Bank, 100 million for Jordan, and 50 million for Lebanon.

- 193.2 million dollars for Pakistan to fund military and economic assistance, increase diplomatic activities in restive tribal areas and to expand USAID help.

- 122.9 million dollars to support stabilization activities in Africa, including support for Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, US Agency for International Development operations in Sudan, and the African Union Mission in Somalia.

- 15 million dollars to advance the six-party talks agreement to address the North Korean nuclear program.

ok/pmh

05/02/2008 20:40 GMT

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