See what those impressive jihadis did
The US military said: “A United States Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter flying in the vicinity of Chakothi delivering relief aid to earthquake victims is believed to have been fired upon by a rocket-propelled grenade today.”
It said the helicopter returned safely to base at Chaklala at 1430 and an investigation was under way. [‘BBC‘]
But the Pakistani military authorities have their own explanation. It must have been the dynamite that’s being used to clear landslides, they contend.
“Our investigation revealed that it was blasting on the roadside by engineers, under way exactly at that time when the helicopters was flying over the area,” Maj Gen [Shaukat] Sultan said.[‘BBC‘]
Gen Sultan would like us to believe that American military pilots are unable to distinguish between someone blasting rocks and someone shooting rocket-propelled grenades at them.
However, US Commander Nick Balice at the Disaster Assistance Centre public affairs office in Islamabad, said: “Our air crew is familiar with RPG fire,”
Rear Adm Mike LeFever, commander at the Disaster Assistance Centre, said: “We are not going to diminish our helicopter support. This is long-term support. We are going to be standing by our friends, and we expect the other international communities to be able to do that.”
His stance was reiterated by Commander Balice after the Chinook incident. He said it would not affect flights. [‘BBC‘]
This incident proves that the jihadi response to the disaster has two elements: first, invest in humanitarian relief with a view to develop a ‘positive’ side to their image among the Kashmiri population, and second, step up attacks on Indian and American interests to deter and diminish their capacity to provide relief. In this, the jihadis have received covering fire from Pakistan’s Islamist parties who have protested against the involvement of foreigners (a term restricted to mean NATO, United States, India and Israel) in relief work. The upsurge in attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, the bombings in New Delhi and now the attack on the American Chinook fit this pattern.
In response to a previous post on the involvement of jihadis in relief operations, one reader had supported the view that the jihadis deserve credit for the ‘good’ work they are doing. If the big picture were to be ignored, that certainly seems to be the case. Unfortunately, the activities of Pakistan’s jihadi establishment has to be seen the context of their long and murderous past, their equally murderous present and their frighteningly murderous vision for the future. Those impressed by the ‘good’ work of the jihadis wilfully ignore the ideology that is packaged with it — the earthquake, Daawah chief ‘Prof’ Hafiz Mohammed Saeed contends, is divine punishment for Pakistan’s flawed ‘foreign policy’.
As Dan Darling has advocated, the jihadis must be, and must seen to be outdone by the international community. The problem here, again, is Pakistan’s military establishment. It will not end its relationship with the jihadi establishment. Nor can it be trusted to employ the funds its receives for aid and development for the purposes it receives them for.
But Hafiz Mohammed Saeed’s explanation, way off the mark in seismological terms, does help explain why Pakistan’s earthquake victims are rapidly falling into the world’s humanitarian blind spot. If Pakistan is not receiving as much aid as it needs, its foreign policy (past and present) cannot escape blame.
This post also appears on Winds of Change