US to send military aid mission to flood-ravaged Pakistan


The United States is conducting a military aid mission to flood-devastated Pakistan, the US armed forces’ Central Command said Friday.

“CENTCOM is sending an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support DoD (the US Department of Defense) can provide… as part of the United States’ assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan,” spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said in a statement.

The decision followed a telephone conversation Thursday between CENTCOM commander General Erik Kurilla and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the spokesman said.

The United States had already announced $30 million in humanitarian aid to Pakistan as the country battles one of the worst floods in recent history.

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a tweet uploaded last Tuesday had said, “We stand with Pakistan in this difficult time.”

“As Pakistan suffers from devastating flooding, the United States — through the USAID — is now providing USD30 million towards critical humanitarian assistance like food, safe water, and shelter,” he said.

The United States is the top arms supplier to Pakistan’s military, but relations between the two countries are often rocky.

The 2011 killing in northern Pakistan by US forces of top terror suspect Osama bin Laden — who had taken refuge near a military complex — caused deep rifts between Islamabad and Washington.

But since the American withdrawal from Afghanistan one year ago, the United States has sought to strengthen ties.

Monsoon rains have submerged a third of Pakistan, claiming over 1,250 lives since June and unleashing powerful floods that have washed away swathes of vital crops and damaged or destroyed more than a million homes.

Authorities have blamed climate change, which is increasing the frequency and strength of extreme weather events.





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