US military says preparing aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan
Washington: 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 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 at least 1,190 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.