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Bush Seeks $72.4 Billion For Iraq, Afganistan Operations --> U.S. troops patrolling Baghdad on 7 February (epa) 17 February 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush has asked Congress for $72.4 billion in additional funding to support U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According the request, the Defense Department would get $65.3 billion for the two conflicts. Other funds would be distributed to the State Department and intelligence agencies.

If approved by lawmakers, as expected, the new funds would bring U.S. military spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts this fiscal year to at least $115 billion. Pentagon officials say the war in Iraq is now costing the United States about $5.9 billion per month, while operations in Afghanistan cost some $900 million.

(compiled from agency reports)

Suicide Attacks In Afghanistan

The results of a suicide-bomb attack in Kandahar Province on January 16 (epa)

Suicide bombers have struck more than two dozen times in Afghanistan since neo-Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgents appear to have stepped up use of such attacks following the provincial and national elections of September 2005. While sporadic until recent months, suicide bombings have killed at least 90 people in Afghanistan since late 2001 -- including the attack in the days leading up to 9/11 that left legendary Afghan mujahedin commander Ahmad Shah Mas'ud dead. For an overview of suicide attacks in Afghanistan dating back to 2001, click here.