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Pakistan Region Groans Under Demands Of Flooding, Counterterrorism

Pakistani military troops unload bags of grain from a U.S. Army helicopter delivering aid to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province on August 5.
PRAGUE -- An official in Pakistan's flood-devastated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province has warned that immediate federal aid is needed to continue counterterrorism operations in the region, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's information minister, told Radio Mashaal that the local government cannot efficiently conduct operations against insurgent groups while it battles the massive floodwaters.

"It is obvious and logical that the [local] government is buying arms for police [and] training them for fighting with the terrorists with its own resources," Hussain said. "But when the same resources are diverted to assistance for the flood-affected people, it is left with no money and this will definitely affect the antiterror war and then the whole world will be affected. We are people who are against terrorism and we shall fight with or without any financial support, but our fight will be strong when we are strong and will be weak when we are [financially] weak."

Hussain also complained that his region is being ill served by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the central body allocating money to provincial governments to cope with the situation.

"The record shows that the NDMA showed us a stepmotherly attitude despite the fact that the floods first hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," Hussain said. "But the NDMA did not give anything to us, and provided aid to those areas where the floods caused losses after us. They are treating us as if Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not part of Pakistan."

Hundreds of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless by the floods that struck the province two weeks ago. At the same time, the region and its government have been under attack by terrorists operating in the tribal areas of the country.

A top police officer, Safwat Ghayyur, who had fought militants on the front line, was killed in a suicide attack on August 4. Hussain's son, Mian Rashid Hussain, was also killed by assailants near Peshawar on July 24.