U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson was in Peshawar today for meetings with Pakistani officials, business and religious leaders, journalists and participants in exchange programs to the United States. While here, Ambassador Olson discussed many areas in which the United States and Pakistan cooperate to strengthen the economic, energy, educational, and security sectors throughout the country, including numerous projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He met with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan and took part in the Peshawar Southern Ring Road Dedication Ceremony.
The Southern Ring Road project replaced the worn-out pavement road with a newer, higher quality surface road and expanded it from two to three lanes in both directions. The project also repaired or widened 14 bridges, and built 18.5 kilometers of side drains that will improve drainage during rainy seasons. The newly refurbished road will reduce congestion in central Peshawar, and will serve as the primary transportation link between Pakistan and Afghanistan, improving commercial traffic between Peshawar and southern destinations within Pakistan.
Ambassador Olson also met with representatives of the Khyber Pakthunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tribal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Khyber Pakthunkhwa Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss trade and economic development. At other events, he met with Pakistani alumni of exchange programs to the United States and religious leaders to discuss people-to-people engagement in their communities and efforts to promote peace and tolerance. He also took part in a roundtable with media representatives.
Since October 2009, the United States has provided more than $1.5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to support the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Government and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in their efforts to improve the lives of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA citizens.