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US Envoy: Flood-Ravaged Pakistan Must Raise Billions

A top U.S. envoy says flood-ravaged Pakistan cannot rely solely on international aid and must raise billions of dollars to rebuild.

The U.S. special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, said in the southern port city of Karachi Thursday the international community can only do so much to help. He said the Islamabad government must find a way to come up with the funding.

Pakistan's tax collection rate is among the lowest in the world.

On Thursday, European Union countries agreed to temporarily waive World Trade Organization tariffs on Pakistani export products in a deal that will be finalized next month. EU officials say such a move could be worth up to $390 million a year for Pakistan.

The International Monetary Fund approved $451 million in emergency funds Wednesday to help Pakistan rebuild following the floods that killed more than 1,700 people and affected 20 million others.

The United States has provided more than $260 million for flood relief, and has expressed concerns about militants trying to exploit the disaster.

The International Crisis Group called on Pakistan to ensure that the civilian government, and not the military, takes the lead in providing humanitarian relief to flood victims.

The group cited anger and alienation among some residents of the northwest who were displaced during military offensives against Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants last year.

The United Nations on Thursday reported "a lot of progress" in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the first province to be hit by the devastating floods, but cautioned that flood affected communities are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.