By Judy Mathewson
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush plans to ask Congress for $7 billion to $8 billion in security and reconstruction aid for Afghanistan, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said today.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will discuss Bush's plan tomorrow at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Snow told reporters on Air Force One today en-route to Kansas City, Missouri.
Afghanistan has received a total of about $14 billion in U.S. aid since the 2001 U.S. invasion that ousted the radical Islamic Taliban militia, the State Department said. The Taliban controlled most of the country and provided a safe haven for the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
Taliban insurgents have hampered the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's effort to unite the country under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai, who was elected in 2004. NATO's 33,000-man military force is gearing up to repel a spring offensive by the resurgent Taliban.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates earlier today announced a plan to extend the Afghan tours of 3,200 U.S. soldiers in an effort to defeat the Taliban.
The Washington Post first reported Bush's plan to ask for the $7 billion to $8 billion as part of his budget request to Congress.
To contact the reporter on this story: Judy Mathewson in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org