No helicopters for earthquake-hit Pakistan: NATO

12th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 October 2005, BRUSSELS - NATO on Wednesday said it did not plan to deploy helicopters used by its stabilisation force in Afghanistan to neighbouring quake-hit Pakistan.

12 October 2005

BRUSSELS - NATO on Wednesday said it did not plan to deploy helicopters used by its stabilisation force in Afghanistan to neighbouring quake-hit Pakistan.

However, NATO aircraft will continue to ferry post-quake relief supplies to Islamabad as part of an alliance strategic air lift operation to move urgently required humanitarian aid to the country, said NATO officials.

The 11,000 NATO-led stabilisation force in Afghanistan was stretched to its limit and assets and soldiers were still needed on the ground in the country in a difficult post-election period, said a NATO official.

However, individual countries could follow the German lead and send troops and helicopters in Afghanistan which were under their national command, the official said. Berlin has sent 50 soldiers and three helicopters from Afghanistan to Pakistan to help with rescue operations.

The alliance's decision-making North Atlantic Council late Tuesday approved an air operation to bring supplies from NATO and other nations to Pakistan.

Officials said a first Boeing 707 - from its fleet of AWACs (Airborne Early Warning and Control) training aircraft - carrying such deliveries would arrive in Islamabad on Thursday.

A five-member team of experts is also on board to assess Pakistan's needs.

NATO said the first airlift operation could be followed up further such actions, adding that heavy-duty helicopters needed by Pakistan could be sent by sea from Europe if required.

DPA

Subject: German news

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