WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration is considering additional aid to Pakistan to help hundreds of thousands of its citizens displaced by the military offensive against Taliban in the Swat Valley, the top US envoy for the region said Tuesday. Richard Holbrooke, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Administration has not decided on the amount and type of assistance. Still, he promised the Committee Chairman, Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, to share his recommendations for a budget supplemental. We are looking at how to act on that, Holbrooke said when Kerry called on the Administration to help Pakistanis in need of humanitarian assistance. Kerry suggested aid during a time of crisis could improve attitudes towards the United States. I dont know if itll be a supplemental or something, but I think the administration ought to come up here and seize this opportunity, Kerry said. He added that US aid after a 2005 powerful earthquake changed many Pakistanis perceptions of the US. I share your view, and Ill relate your views immediately to the executive branch, Holbrooke said. A stable, secure, democratic Pakistan is vital to US national security interests. We must support and strengthen the democratic government of Pakistan in order to eliminate once and for all the extremist threat from Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, Holbrooke said in his testimony. Kerry welcomed Pakistani forces recent anti-Taliban operations as 'encouraging signs and reiterated his commitment to a legislative measures - Kerry Lugar Bill - on long-term economic and security assistance for the country. The two congressional leaders also said the US should help Islamabad deal with humanitarian situation arising out of the fight against militants in the Swat Valley which has seen an exodus of more than one million people from the scenic region, once a popular tourist destination. Washington, they argued, should not back out of its commitment to have a consistent relationship with Pakistan with Holbrooke making a strong case for providing wide-ranging assistance to Pakistan on urgent basis. We cannot walk away from Pakistan without now damaging our own most vital national security interests, Holbrooke told the committee when Senator Reobert Menendez called for having benchmarks to determine outcome of efforts by both allies. He was critical of ways the past US assistance for Pakistan was dedicated and used. Reuters/AFP) add: The Obama administration lobbied hard Tuesday for a giant Pakistan aid package, arguing that to abandon the embattled nation now would jeopardise vital US national interests. Policies to counter Taliban will be a key part of Obama Administration aid efforts for beleaguered ally Pakistan, the US envoy for the Afghan-Pakistan conflict said on Tuesday. He said the ambitious aid bill sponsored by senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar had a talismanic quality for Pakistanis. US special envoy Holbrooke told a Senate hearing on US aid plans for Pakistan faced an extremely difficult situation, but it was not in danger of becoming a failed state or being taken over by the extremists Pakistan Army is battling in the Swat area. The envoy outlined for the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee administration plans for implementing a new aid plan that calls for $7.5 billion in development aid for restive border regions over five years. Washington would use funds to build roads and schools, enhance law enforcement and extend small-scale loans to support health, education, livelihoods and agriculture, said Holbrooke. A new key thrust of US aid, endorsed by President Barack Obama, would be efforts to counter and jam Taliban broadcasts that were helping the militants win the information war, he told the hearing. The Taliban have unrestricted, unchallenged access to the radio which is the main means of communication in an area where literacy is around 10pc for men and less than five percent for women, he said. We cant succeed, however you define success, if we cede the airways to people who present themselves as false messengers of a prophet, said Holbrooke. We need to combat it. Holbrooke said US security aid for Pakistan would help expand and train the Frontier Corps which guard border areas in Pakistan, hotbeds of militancy only loosely controlled by the federal government, and upgrade their weapons. We believe that they can be strengthened into a serious counterinsurgency force, he said. The envoy rejected criticism from committee Republican Senators, who threatened not to support the aid legislation without a more detailed strategy from the administration. The words Kerry-Lugar have become a symbol of American support for Pakistan in the emergency, he said, arguing many Pakistanis were still suspicious of US intentions. The only beneficiaries of a delay in this bill are the enemies of this nation, the veteran diplomat added. He also said the US administration was prepared to extend new assistance to more than half a million people displaced from the Taliban stronghold in Pakistans Swat valley, terming it a major refugee crisis. Committee members from both sides of the political aisle expressed scepticism, noting that Obamas predecessor George W. Bush ploughed more than 12 billion dollars into Pakistan with little now to show for it. Holbrooke emphasized, however, that nearly all of that aid went to the conventional Pakistan Army and the Obama Administrations goals encompassed improving Pakistans counter-insurgency capacity. Holbrooke said the Obama Administration was crafting benchmarks to measure progress once the aid package is approved. Agencies add: Holbrooke described the situation of Pakistan and Afghanistan similar to Vietnam, saying that whatever happens in Afghanistan also affects Pakistan. The US envoy said it was 'absolutely critical to the war effort, despite the risk that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda will be driven further into Pakistan. Were aware of the consequences, he said. Holbrooke argued that Pakistans new democracy needs increased funding for building roads, combating poverty and capacity-building in the country. Holbrooke also stressed the need for improved counterinsurgency training for the Frontier Corps that fights in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan. And he said that US funds will go towards 'seriously upgrading the weaponry of the Frontier Corps. Holbrooke acknowledged that the US is encouraging Pakistan to move more troops to its Western border. He further said that PPP decision to remain in Punjab government is another big step towards a political alliance. He said that majority of Pakistanis back Swat truce deal, but added that Taliban violated the peace deal. Senator Lugar pressed Holbrooke on the need for a plan from the Administration about how the money will be spent. Chairman US Senate Committee Senator John F Kerry has termed Pakistans action against insurgency in its northwestern areas as 'the most difficult foreign policy challenge for the US. In his opening statement at the hearing, Kerry declared that with its nuclear arsenal, terrorist safe havens, Taliban sanctuaries and growing insurgency, Pakistan has emerged as one of the most difficult foreign policy challenges we face. He said that Obamas meetings last week with President Asif Zardari and Afghan President Karzai were 'a significant step forward, but much work remains to succeed with a 'bold new strategy. Since President Obama called on Congress to pass a Pakistan aid bill, the dangers of inaction have risen almost by the day. The government has struck an ill-advised deal that effectively surrendered the Swat Valley to the Taliban. Predictably, this emboldened the Taliban to extend their reach ever closer to the countrys heartland. In recent days we have seen encouraging signs that Pakistan Army is finally taking the fight to the enemy, but much remains to be done, Kerry said, according to prepared remarks released by the committee. Even as we help Pakistans government to respond to an acute crisis, we also need to mend a broken relationship with the Pakistani people. For decades, America sought Pakistani cooperation through military aid, while paying scant attention to the wishes of the population itself. The additional aid is an important first step, Kerry said.