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Since the end of World War II, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has worked to further America's foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets. U.S. foreign aid to the Middle East and South Asia has long played a key role in advancing U.S. foreign policy goals.

Most of the aid money provides nations with military support such as arms, education and training -- a strategic effort to discourage arms races among countries in the region and promote stability. Economic aid, meanwhile, has been used to further development efforts. With nearly half of the region's population under age 24, inadequate education and employment opportunities for this large youth population contribute to internal instability.

Afghanistan is the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance in South Asia, accounting for upwards of $10 billion in aid for FY 2010. Second is Pakistan, which received $4.4 billion in aid in 2010.

In the Middle East, Israel received $2.8 billion in 2010. Egypt receives an average of nearly $2 billion annually, mostly military aid.

For more information on U.S. foreign aid, including historical perspective and recent trends, read the Congressional Research Service's full 2010 report.

Source: Library of Congress (map); Congressional Research Service, June 2010 report (data)

Adam Popescu contributed to this report.

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