Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:October 9th, 2006 02:29 EST
U.S. prepares for operation to aid Pakistan

U.S. prepares for operation to aid Pakistan

By SOP newswire

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFPN) -- A joint team of Airmen and Soldiers are in Pakistan preparing for OPERATION PROMISE KEEPING, a follow-up mission to aid the people in remote northern parts of the country, which was devastated by an earthquake last year.

On Oct. 8, 2005, the disaster, which measured a 7.6 on the Richter Scale and centered roughly 60 miles northeast from here, left more than 73,000 people dead, 128,000 injured and 3.4 million homeless.

Two days later, a coalition of several nations formed OPERATION LIFELINE, providing much-needed relief to the people in dire need of food, water, shelter and medical care until the operation's conclusion in March 2006.

OPERATION PROMISE KEEPING picks up where Lifeline left off, bringing rebuilding supplies to the people as they prepare for the winter months near the Himalaya Mountains. According to a release from the U.S. Embassy here, the United States has pledged $206 million in earthquake reconstruction assistance to Pakistan over the next four years.

Since Oct. 3, Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, have been transporting supplies to Islamabad International Airport. 

Together with Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters, aircrews are bringing the materials, including more than 10,000 sheets of corrugated iron for homes in the Allai and Kaghan valleys. 

Several members of the Chinook air and maintenance crews were here for OPERATION LIFELINE, bringing their efforts for Promise Keeping full circle, according to Army Reserve Warrant Officer John Roberts, a Chinook pilot and commander deployed from Fort Lewis, Wash.

"We're back and we're here to help," he said. "We're here to show Pakistanis that America has not abandoned (it) and is still their friend."

Last year, the people in earthquake-affected areas came to refer to the Chinook crews as "Angels of Mercy" because of the quick and efficient response they provided.

"Pakistan is one of the most important partners in the war on terrorism, especially in OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM," said Warrant Officer Roberts.

Source: USAF