As long as the United States is going to have a large military it is beneficial for the military to be used to win hearts and minds. Foreign Aid and assistance is one way in which the United States can win the support of various communities. After the recent devastating earthquake in Pakistan the United States has made a large effort to help in the recovery operations.
Here are the details of current military operations providing aid in Pakistan according to Centcom:
The United States Air Force continued to support Pakistan-led earthquake recovery operations by airlifting and airdropping much-needed supplies into the devastated region Friday and today.
Friday three U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemasters, one U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules and a contracted AN-124 Condor flew in more than 346,440 pounds of clothing, aircraft parts, cargo vehicles, and various supplies in response to requests from Pakistan’s government.
To date, the U.S. Air Force has airlifted more than four million pounds of relief supplies to Pakistan.
Today two U.S. Air Force C-130s airdropped more than 30,000 pounds of food and supplies near the Pakistani villages of Laij Copei and Batagram, bringing the total amount of airdropped supplies to 70,000 pounds.
But is it working to win hearts and minds? According to the New York Times it sounds like the aid is serving that intended purpose, at least to a limited extent. Quote:
Yet after Mr. Janbaz departed, something extraordinary happened. Here in a mountainous corner of northern Pakistan long thought to be a center for militant training camps and religious conservatism, three men dismissed his theory and heartily praised the United States for aiding victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake, which killed more than 53,000 Pakistanis.
“People don’t believe such things; people only believe in what they are seeing,” said Manzur Hussain, a 36-year-old hospital worker whose brother, sister and two sons died in the earthquake. “People who give them aid, they respect them.”
While it is too early to reach firm conclusions, anecdotal interviews with earthquake survivors in this picturesque mountain district, known as Mansehra, suggest that American assistance may be improving Pakistanis’ perceptions of the United States – an image that has been overwhelmingly negative here since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
During the past year, Taliban prisoners captured in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan and Indian officials, have said Mansehra was the site of several camps where young recruits were trained to fight American forces in Afghanistan and Indian forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir. One of the four young men who carried out the July 7 bombings in London was also thought to have visited a religious school, or madrasa, in Mansehra last year.
Muhammad Farid, a homeopathic doctor in the devastated town of Balakot, said he still deeply disagreed with the American invasion of Iraq and other policies. But the dispatch to Pakistan of 14 American military helicopters and more than 20 foreign search and rescue teams surprised him.
“It has changed our opinion about the United States,” he said, adding that hard-line clerics’ descriptions of debauched foreigners have proved untrue. “They have been accusing all these people of spreading immorality, but these are the people who came to save our lives.”
Al Qaeda has also entered the propaganda game by providing aid in the aftermath of the hurricane.