WASHINGTON The United States will maintain a civilian presence in Pakistan and Afghanistan for a long time, even after American combat troops leave the region, a State Department report said on Thursday. More than a month after the Obama administration announced a military surge for Afghanistan, the new civilian strategy calls for boosting Pakistans capabilities to fight a growing Taliban insurgency and to enhance the US partnership with Islamabad partly through supporting political and economic reforms. While our combat mission in Afghanistan is not open-ended, we will remain politically, diplomatically and economically engaged in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the long-term to protect our enduring interests in the region, the report said. Recognising that we cannot abandon Afghanistan as we did in 1989 following the Soviet withdrawal, our civilian effort must be sustained beyond our combat mission so that Afghanistan does not become a failed state and safe haven for Al-Qaeda, it said. President Barack Obama announced last month plans to add 30,000 troops to the roughly 68,000 troops already in Afghanistan. He said that the United States would start withdrawing troops in the middle of 2011, but officials say that the pullout would depend on conditions on the ground, and no deadline for the troops to leave has been set. Obama is expected to request $33 billion in emergency war funding for the new surge of forces when he sends his next budget to Congress on February 1. His request for funding to pay for his new Afghanistan strategy will include 'a sizable amount for civilian assistance to implement our programmes, the State Department report said, without giving an amount. Aligned with our national security objectives, civilian assistance will help build Afghan capacity in key areas and also reassure Afghans that our commitment is long term, said the report, which was titled 'Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilisation Strategy. The United States planned on a significant increase in civilian experts to help rebuild Afghanistans agriculture sector, strengthen its governance, and support efforts to reintegrate Taliban fighters who renounce Al-Qaeda, it said. The report did not give a specific figure but said the increase in civilian experts would go beyond a recent tripling of deployed US civilians from 320 civilians in Afghanistan a year ago to nearly 1,000 on the ground now. The experts will be sent from various US government departments and agencies, including the departments of state, agriculture, treasury, homeland security and justice as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI. APP addes: The United States will maintain a long-term engagement with Pakistan and help its people overcome development challenges, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday while identifying wide-ranging areas of cooperation toward stability of the country. Clinton reflected the Obama administrations desire to stabilise Pakistan and Afghanistan in a new report that says the US civilian commitment to the two countries would be enduring and continue long after the current American military engagement in the militancy-hit region concludes. The chief US diplomat stated she would convene a new strategic dialogue at the foreign minister level. The dialogue will provide a framework for engaging Pakistan on bilateral security, political, social, and economic issues of mutual interest. The first meeting is anticipated by mid-2010. In emphasising Washingtons resolve to assist Pakistan, which it abandoned after the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan in 1989, Clinton says democratic transition and widespread public backing for Pakistans military operations against militants offer a great opportunity. She particularly referred to Kerry-Lugar bill under which Pakistan will receive $ 1.5 billion annually for five years. She said sizable resources would be committed toward high-impact projects addressing the challenges that most affect the Pakistani people like energy and water. We will increase direct assistance through Pakistani institutions to enhance their capacity and to bolster economic and political reform, Clinton said in 30-page report. Later, Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke also urged long-term support for Pakistan at a Congressional hearing. The US assistance will be geared toward : helping Pakistan address immediate energy, water, and related economic crises, thereby deepening our partnership with the Pakistani people and decreasing the appeal of extremists; supporting broader economic and democratic reforms that are necessary to put Pakistan on a path towards sustainable job creation and economic growth, which is necessary for long-term Pakistani stability and progress; sustaining and expanding counterinsurgency assistance to support Pakistans military, police, and intelligence operations against militant groups. Washington will lead international humanitarian assistance efforts to help displaced Pakistanis with recovery as they return to their homes and rebuild their lives, Clinton said in the report. The US will also expand its public diplomacy effort to build increased people-to-people contacts, convey American policies effectively, and challenge the extremists narrative. Pakistan, Clinton notes, is important to American efforts in Afghanistan, to regional stability, and to US national security and foreign policy interests. There remains mistrust between our two countries, but we see a critical window of opportunity created by the recent transition to democratic, civilian rule and the broad, sustained political support across Pakistan for military operations against extremists. We seek to lead the international community in helping Pakistan overcome the political, economic, and security challenges that threaten its stability, she said.