Relief vs. Afghan Fight ; the US Military Is Looking beyond Afghanistan for Other Resources to Bring to the Pakistani Quake Relief Effort

By Laura J. Winter Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 13, 2005 | Go to article overview

Relief vs. Afghan Fight ; the US Military Is Looking beyond Afghanistan for Other Resources to Bring to the Pakistani Quake Relief Effort


Laura J. Winter Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


In the light of early morning, the crew of Miss Behavin', a Chinook from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, left behind their hide- and-seek fight with the Taliban to lend a hand in Pakistan, where their new foes - injury and deprivation - were overwhelmingly visible.

The crew dropped off supplies at Rawalakot, a Pakistani base at the center of relief operations following Saturday's devastating earthquake. There, the six-man crew picked up some of the injured and ferried them to the capital, Islamabad. Then it was off to Muzaffarabad, close to the epicenter, with a 23-member Russian disaster relief team. Within minutes of landing at a sports field the chopper was packed with some 30 severely injured survivors, with more trying in vain to get on board.

"With two Chinooks we brought back 60 [people], just a drop in the bucket of what's really out there," says Chief Warrant Officer Mark Jones, a pilot from Seattle.

With all major cities reached, and rescue teams and personnel arriving from 22 countries, the relief effort is now in full swing. The scope of the task is daunting: The quake left an estimated 23,000 dead, 51,000 injured, and affected some 3.3 million people.

US officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who arrived Wednesday, said that more US resources are on the way. …

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