The first of a planned 1,000-troop NATO contingent has arrived in Pakistan to smooth the arrival of more earthquake relief and coordinate with Pakistan on where those forces will be deployed, officials said late Tuesday.
The NATO contingent is led by U.S. Navy Vice Adm. John Stufflebeem, commander of the NATO Response Force.
“The first troops are expected to leave for Pakistan at the end of this week,” a NATO statement read. “They will be followed by more substantial forces and equipment, including ground handlers, helicopters, medical and engineering personnel and equipment, and water purification plants.”
NATO has also been operating an air bridge of relief supplies from mainland Europe and Turkey. Eleven C-130s from the Response Force have been deployed to Incirlik, Turkey, from Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, officials said.