NEW YORK (APP) - Pakistan, which is facing acute economic problems, is keen to expand trade with the United States, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon said Tuesday, hoping that the Obama administration will consider giving more market access to Pakistani goods. Speaking to a group comprising members of the World Youth Institute, a UN-affiliated body, at the Pakistan Mission here, Haroon, who is Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations, also hoped that the administration, which is currently reviewing the situation in Afghanistan, would come out with a comprehensive plan not only to deal with the issue of terrorism along the Pak-Afghan border but also to address the economic problems facing Pakistan. Pakistan's main exports - cotton and textile products - amount to 7 billion dollars whereas it has a potential of going up to 15 billion dollars. Other countries that have enhanced trade relations with the US buy raw cotton from Pakistan, adding value by shipping finished textiles to the US. Ambassador said Pakistan's economic difficulties could be traced to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when it was burdened with the care of over three million Afghan refugees. Before that invasion, Pakistan was doing reasonably well as the World Bank and IMF cited the country as an economic model. According to independent financial analysts, he said the Govt of Pakistan spent an amount of 150 billion dollars over a period of 20 years on providing food and shelter to Afghan refugees, which is equal to the current annual GDP of Pakistan. The present economic situation, he said, was a cumulative impact of the political and economic backlash that Pakistan suffered for supporting the Afghan Mujahideen in their bid to oust the Red Army from Afghanistan. Following the Soviet defeat the international community lost its interest in Afghanistan, creating a vacuum. The Soviet withdrawal had created a civil war-like situation in Afghanistan where warlords became powerful. The Taliban eventually filled the vacuum by creating a perception of order in the country. The Taliban had prevailed on their pledge to provide justice, employment and education to the war-weary people of Afghanistan. Only after the 9/11 attacks, the US again got focused on Afghanistan where the Taliban were providing protection to al-Qaeda militants. Responding to a question, Haroon denied that the ISI was still supporting the Taliban. As for the Pakistan Army, it was a disciplined outfit, led by a professional soldier General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. General Ahmed Nawaz Pasha, the head of the ISI, was earlier being appointed to an important assignment in the UN. These officers, he added, were of impeccable character. The Pakistan Army, he said, is pitched against the Taliban who are well financed and have modern weapons. Pakistan needs helicopters, night vision equipment, sophisticated communications system, latest technological weapons and large quantities of ordnance to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Responding to a question about fears of nuclear proliferation following A Q Khan's release, Ambassador said that the courts set the scientistist free. A Q Khan, he said, was no longer in contact with Pakistan's atomic establishment and as such the fears of nuclear proliferation were unfounded. Commenting on the Mumbai incident, he termed it condemnable. Pakistan, Haroon said, was seeking India's cooperation to punish those responsible.