US Increases Humanitarian Military Presence in Pakistan

Friday, August 20, 2010

U.S. Marines board a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion assigned to the White Knights of Helicopter Marine Medium (HMM) 165 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Omar A. Dominquez)

To support relief efforts in Pakistan, the United States currently has 18 military and civilian aircraft in the country and three based in Afghanistan. American helicopters have evacuated nearly 6,000 people and delivered more than 717,000 pounds of relief supplies. And Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has just announced the U.S. will increase aid to Pakistan to $150 million.

But the context for the American military presence in Pakistan is more complicated than simply delivering humanitarian aid. Pakistan is home to militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose offshoot organizations have already become a visible force during this crisis. The Pakistani Taliban is already believed to be behind two attacks against security forces in Peshawar since the start of the flooding.

Taylor Seybolt, author of "Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure", talks about the role of the military during humanitarian crises. We also speak with Issam Ahmed, Pakistan correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, about the progess of relief efforts thus far.

Guests:

Issam Ahmed and Taylor Seybolt

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Amanda Moore

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