Terror threat from South Asia still top US concern

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2008 (AFP) – The United States has poured nearly 40 billion dollars in aid to South Asia since the September 11 attacks but the terror threat from the region remains a top problem, a congressional hearing was told Wednesday.

“South Asia is arguably the place from which America faces the greatest terrorist threat,” said Gary Ackerman, the head of the House of Representatives panel on issues relating to the region that includes Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Chairing a hearing on US foreign assistance to South Asia, he said that since 2001, Washington spent 38.67 billion dollars on the region but “we are no closer than we were when we began to a peaceful, stable, secure South Asia.”

The lawmaker was critical of the administration of President George W. Bush for lacking what he called an effective strategy to contain the terrorism threat from the region.

“While the president and his administration don’t seem very adept when it comes to strategy, either having one or implementing one, the Bush administration is very good at spending money, lots of it and mostly on guns,” he said.

Since the United States was attacked on September 11, 2004, South Asia has become second only to the Middle East in terms of US mili