Objective in Pakistan is to Help, Mullen Says

ISLAMABAD, Pak­istan, Sept. 2, 2010 — Though relief efforts may help peo­ple in flood-rav­aged Pak­istan and the rest of the world see the Unit­ed States in a more favor­able light than they had before, the U.S. objec­tive here sim­ply is to help, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen is in Pak­istan today to meet with gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary offi­cials and to get a first-hand look at strick­en areas and the relief effort with Gen. Ash­faq Parvez Kayani, the Pak­istani army’s chief of staff. 

Dur­ing the first trav­el leg of an over­seas trip that has brought him to Ger­many, Iraq and Pak­istan this week, Mullen said the rela­tion­ship between the Unit­ed States and Pak­istan suf­fered for more than a decade. Though a strate­gic U.S.-Pakistani part­ner­ship has re-emerged, he added, it will take time for the Unit­ed States to rebuild the Pak­istani people’s trust, and the flood-relief effort can help in that regard. 

“The back­drop of this is 12 years of no rela­tion­ship and a mas­sive gap of trust,” he said. “It’s just going to take us a while to rebuild it. How­ev­er long you take to dig a hole, it’s prob­a­bly going to take you that long to fill it up.” 

Mullen not­ed that the per­cep­tion of the Unit­ed States among Indone­sians improved as a result of the tsuna­mi relief effort in 2004. 

“The goal was to help,” he said. “The effect was that so many changed their minds about their feel­ings toward Amer­i­ca. That’s not why we do it, but the pos­si­bil­i­ty is there. I’m hope­ful that many Pak­istani cit­i­zens can see a dif­fer­ent side of Amer­i­ca than what is often portrayed.” 

The stand­ing of the Unit­ed States among the Pak­istani peo­ple isn’t very high, Mullen acknowl­edged, adding that he hopes the flood-relief effort helps to build good will. “With this relief and assis­tance,” he said, “I hope they will see – sim­i­lar to the earth­quake there in 2005 – that this is who we are.” 

En route here last night, the chair­man said he spoke ear­li­er in the day with Dr. Rajiv Shah, admin­is­tra­tor of the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment, about Pak­istan flood relief, “because we’re all try­ing to work this together.” 

Mullen told reporters the flood waters have reached the Indi­an Ocean, so they’re no longer ris­ing. As the waters recede, he added, the extent of the dam­age will become more evi­dent. The long-term scope of the relief and recov­ery effort Pak­istan will need remains to be seen, Mullen said, but the U.S. com­mit­ment to that effort is clear, and a sig­nif­i­cant, sus­tained com­mit­ment from the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty almost cer­tain­ly will be required. 

For now, the chair­man added, the focus is on the near term. Addi­tion­al U.S. heli­copters and ships should arrive in about 10 days, he said. So far, he added, the Unit­ed States has res­cued more than 11,000 peo­ple, brought in more than 3 mil­lion pounds of relief sup­plies and pro­vid­ed Pak­istan with about $150 mil­lion in aid. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →