NEW YORK - Pakistan has spent an astronomical amount of $150 billion in hosting over three million Afghan refugees over nearly 30 years, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon has said, and urged he incoming Barack Obama administration to boost economic assistance to Pakistan and Afghanistan. In a speech to the participants of a course at the United States Army War College, he said the two neighbouring countries vitally need financial stability as they face the challenge of resurgent Taliban militants. Haroon, who is the ambassador to the United Nations, spoke about the devastating impact on Pakistan's economy in looking after Afghan refugees, saying the country had suffered the most from the direct consequences of the decades of conflict and instability in Afghanistan. The ambassador said that the expenditure borne on Afghan refugees over the years constituted a year of Pakistan's gross Domestic Product (GDP). Pakistan had endured political, security, social, economic and environmental consequences of the protracted war in Afghanistan and the presence of vast numbers of refugees in the country. "Today we have nearly gone broke -- thanks to the IMF for having bailed us out." Ambassador Haroon said that there was now better understanding between the leadership of Afghanistan and Pakistan and an increase U.S. help would enable them generate the necessary economic activity to meet the basic needs of the people, and that such a move won't cost much. Among the participants were 261 personnel from the US Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Army reserves equivalent to the rank of Lt. Colonel and above, 33 senior civilians, including representatives of National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security and 42 International fellows, including a brigadier from Pakistan. The topic of Haroon's speech was "The Situation in Afghanistan and its impact on Pakistan." "If cost on food per person is taken as one dollar per day per person, the sum comes up to 35 billion dollars, (but) as food is only 50% of the expenses, add another 50% for education, health and other services plus capital expenditure on housing etc. takes the amount to $150 billion over many years," he said. At the same time, the ambassador said the Afghan refugees took away much from Pakistan, impacting on the country's environment, leaving it with a culture of Klashinkovs, a weapon later used to challenge the government, as also drugs that have traumatized the Pakistani society. About the Pak-U.S. ties, Ambassador Haroon recalled that Pakistan's first Prime Minster Liaquat Ali Khan had laid the foundation of the relationship when he paid an official visit to America in 1950. Since then Pakistan has been maintaining close relations with the United States, having also been a member of the now defunct Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and South East Asia Treaty organization (SEATO). The relationship got a boost when Pakistan and the United States entered into closer co-operation in support of the people of Afghanistan against the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Haroon said. But he said the void left by the United States after the Afghan mujahideen defeated the Soviets was filled by Taliban-- the group challenged the staus quo and provided religious education and their brand of justice to the people of Afghanistan. In the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks, he said, the United States eliminated the Taliban rule, but failed to follow up with economic and social development of the battered country. What was required was a strategy, comprising a mix of political, military and development measures. But the Americans failed, allowing the Taliban to resurface. About what advice he would give to the next U.S. administration, Ambassador Haroon reiterated his proposal about forming a joint force of Pakistani, NATO and U.S. Troops as a border security force to increase co-ordination and curb the terrorist along the Pak-Afghan border. Such a force should be placed under the command of Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kiyani. Mistrust among coalition partners would go and the much needed local experience, essential for success in Afghanistan, would become available. Introducing the college and participants, Major General Robert Williams, Commandant of the College, said the United States War College (USAWC) is a premier US institution for the education for strategic studies.