U.S. to donate more than $6M in equipment to Pakistan
ARLINGTON, Va. — The United States plans to donate more than $6 million in equipment to Pakistan to help with ongoing earthquake relief efforts, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman on Monday.
The U.S. launched a relief mission in October, after an earthquake in Pakistan killed about 87,000 people and left another 2.5 million people homeless.
U.S. troops will begin donating construction and medical equipment to Pakistan, Whitman told reporters Monday.
The United States plans to donate more than 30 pieces of engineering equipment to the Pakistanis including bulldozers, backhoes, dump trucks and generators, Whitman said.
U.S. troops also will donate more than $3 million in medical equipment when they turn over the Army’s last remaining Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to the Pakistanis later this week, he said.
“That includes a two-bed surgical unit, anesthesia apparatus, ventilators, X-ray equipment to ensure that we have continued capability to treat residents in and around the Muzaffarabad [area],” Whitman said.
After the earthquake, the United States sent more than 1,200 troops to Pakistan, including units from Germany and Okinawa, and aircraft from Afghanistan.
Since U.S. troops arrived in Pakistan in the fall, they have flown more than 4,000 missions, delivered 11,000 tons of supplies and transported 18,000 people, Whitman said.
The remaining 650 troops in Pakistan should leave the country this spring, Whitman said.
“Towards the end of March or beginning of April, somewhere in that time frame or so, we will have transitioned all of our personnel from Pakistan,” he said.
The relief efforts fostered good will between the United States and Pakistan, but then the U.S. government enraged many Pakistanis by launching an airstrike against a home there in a failed attempt to kill top al-Qaida lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Asked if the end of the U.S. mission was prompted by the airstrike, Whitman said, “The drawdown in relief efforts are only timed to close coordination with the Pakistani government, and let’s leave it there.”