Mattis to Assess U.S. Aid to Pakistan
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2010 Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis is scheduled to make his first trip to Pakistan today as commander of U.S. Central Command to assess U.S. flood relief efforts there.
According to a statement released by Centcom officials today, Mattis will consult with Pakistani leaders and visit flood regions. He will “express his sympathy for those affected by the massive flooding in recent weeks,” the statement said.
U.S. military relief workers have rescued nearly 6,500 flood victims in northwestern Pakistan this month, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today. U.S. forces have been conducting relief efforts in the Swat Valley and Peshawar regions of Pakistan since Aug. 5 at the request of the Pakistani government. Relief includes 19 U.S. military helicopters and four cargo planes. About 400 U.S. troops are on the ground there.
More than 1.4 million pounds of food and relief supplies have been delivered, Whitman said.
As of today, Pakistan authorities have not made additional requests for support, he added, but he noted that there are “plenty of relief supplies to be distributed, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Mattis also is expected to discuss other means by which the U.S. can support Pakistan’s recovery, as well as update Pakistani officials on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and other regional issues.