ISLAMABAD The latest US humanitarian assistance and additional military support to Pakistan in tackling massive floods is largely aimed at keeping the Armed Forces as well as political leadership focused on war against terror.
Well-placed sources informed TheNation on Friday that US had lately embarked on its public diplomacy in an effort to win the hearts of Pakistanis in order to solicit their crucial support to the US-led war against terror.
Sources were of the view that the US moves ostensibly suggested that it wanted the Pakistani political and military leaderships not to shift their focus from the war against terror. However, these notions have been denied both by the US Embassy as well as Pakistan Army, saying the US efforts were clearly directed towards providing maximum relief to the flood-affected population of Pakistan.
Military sources said that Pakistan Army had deployed 60,000 troops other than those engaged on Pak-Afghan border. However, they conceded that the training programmes offered to Pakistani security forces by the US had been affected.
The US Embassy Spokesman made it clear that all the US troops and assets were put on the disposal of Pakistani Armed Forces that were making their use good as per their plans.
Apart from pledging 76 million dollars as initial humanitarian assistance for flood-affected Pakistanis, the US administration has so far sent hundreds of marines, 31 helicopters and 18 boats to Pakistan in support of its rescue and relief efforts.
The US sources said that two additional US Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and a US Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter arrived in Pakistan on Friday as part of the continued US humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in support of flood relief from the monsoon floods.
The three aircraft are part of the contingent of 19 helicopters urgently ordered to Pakistan on Wednesday by US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates.
The incoming aircraft flew into Pakistan today from aboard the USS Peleliu, which is positioned in international waters in the Arabian Sea. They will join the two other CH-53E helicopters that arrived yesterday at Ghazi Air Base, bringing the total number of aircraft in Pakistan to five from the USS Peleliu.
Sources further said that the remaining aircraft would arrive over the next few days and will include two more US Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters and 12 US Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters. The US helicopters will operate in partnership with the Pakistan military throughout the countrys flood-affected areas.
They said that since August 5, the six helicopters had rescued more than 3,089 people and transported more than 322,340 lbs of emergency relief supplies in spite of bad weather. They were of the view that United States had responded immediately and generously to Pakistans call for assistance following the tragic and devastating floods that began July 29. To date, the US has pledged to provide approximately $76 million in assistance to flood-affected populations in Pakistan.
Our response has been consistent with our humanitarian values and our deep commitment to Pakistan, US Embassy Spokesman said, adding that the support included both financial assistance and the immediate provision of urgently needed supplies and services, drawing on unique US capabilities and resources.