The Afghan president and ten ministers will tell members of the US Congress they need billions of dollars to end the eight-year-old Taliban insurgency. Ministers will ask American politicians to fund an ambitious scheme to use jobs, training, aid and amnesties to coax militants from the battlefield. They will say they need money for their armed forces, farming, education, health and job schemes to win over rural Afghans who still view the Kabul regime as weak, corrupt and ineffective. Relations between Kabul and Washington plummeted after Mr Karzai railed against foreign interference and blamed his backers for the country's fraud and corruption. The diplomatic row had at one point appeared to jeopardise Mr Karzai's invitation to the White House. Sources close to Mr Karzai said a successful visit was now considered "extraordinarily important". The delegation will arrive in Washington on Monday to lobby Congress as it considers a Pentagon request for 22 billion of extra funds for the war in Afghanistan. Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the architect of the plan to persuade Taliban foot soldiers to defect, said securing more money was a key objective of the visit. He said: "We need their support to build our civil institutions. We need their technical support and we need their financial support. They have promised us money in the past, now we need to see if they will give it." A Western military officer involved in building the Afghan police and army said the ministries of defence and interior had drawn up "a very long shopping list". American commanders fighting alongside British forces in Helmand this week admitted the continuing lack of competent Afghan police and administrators had slowed efforts to widen Kabul's grip after the drive to rid the province of Taliban fighters in Operation Moshtarak. David Sedney, a deputy assistant secretary of defence, told the senate foreign relations committee: "The number of those civilians ... who are trained, capable, willing to go into (Taliban-controlled areas) does not match at all demand." Mr Stanekzai said the delegation would seek American pressure on Islambad to squeeze Taliban safe havens inside Pakistan. He said: "We need them to put more pressure on Pakistan to stop this double game. We must stop the organisational support behind the insurgency." (The Telegraph)