US fears radicals may take advantage of floods in Pakistan

As groups on UN terror list Jamaat-ud-Dawah become highly visible in relief operations and growing resentment over the government laxness, the US and other western nations are pushing Islamabad to step up flood relief measures.

"It is a setback for the people of Pakistan, that they've lost so many people and that so much of their country is flooded and underwater," White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, told reporters at his daily news conference.

"As it relates to the armed insurgency, our relationship with Pakistan is much bigger than just what we do in the fight against insurgents, and we certainly hope that they're not using this opportunity to inflict even more pain on the people of Pakistan," Burton said.
"The concern is that every single day you've got people who are intent on creating havoc in order to disrupt democracy and harm the way of life there. So right now we're of course worried about the floods, we're worried about the insurgents, and we're dealing with those issues as appropriate," Burton said in response to a question.

His comments came as Taliban urged the Pakistan government to reject American aid offering to bankroll relief measures.

Analysts say that the radical groups are using floods to win influence among the people.
The White House is monitoring the situation very closely and working with the Pakistani government to get the assistance that they request, the White House spokesman said.
Besides, every request that comes in through official channels is being looked in to make sure that the US is doing what it can to help alleviate the tragedy there.

The Obama Administration, which so far has announced USD 55 million in aid for flood relief work, is trying to win over the hearts of the people of Pakistan, where its popularity rating is very low.

The US also believes that this is an occasion to show to the people of Pakistan that it is really committed to the country on a long term basis, the official said.

US combats pilots are flying mercy missions in giant helicopters along with Pakistani military personnel in flood devastated areas of Swat, Kalam and other areas of Pakistan's restive northwest, where once Taliban held sway.

Last week, National Security Advisor Gen (Rtd) James Jones said President Obama has directed his Administration to stand with the Pakistani people and to assist them as they confront the worst flooding in Pakistan's history."The United States stands with the Pakistani authorities as they face the difficult challenges this natural disaster poses and will continue to work with the international community to increase assistance," he said.
The US-Pakistan relationship goes beyond the shared commitment to fight extremists and America stands ready to continue to assist Pakistani authorities address the difficult challenges posed by this natural disaster, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement earlier.

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