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War is Boring: Afghan Forces Deploy for Pakistan Flood Relief

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010

Torrential monsoon rains since late July have flooded Pakistan's Swat Valley and portions of neighboring Afghanistan, killing nearly 2,000 people and displacing around 2 million. Relief efforts have included deployments of troops and helicopters by the Pakistan military, the NATO force in Afghanistan and, perhaps surprisingly, the nascent Afghan air corps. "Right now, the Afghan air force has four Mi-17 helicopters in Pakistan supporting that relief effort," said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Boera, head of Afghan air training.

The Afghan deployment underscores an encouraging trend in the nine-year-old war against the Taliban. On Aug. 11, top NATO commander Gen. David Petraeus announced that the Afghan army had reached its planned peak strength of 134,000 soldiers -- two months earlier than anticipated. Reacting to the news, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said NATO might begin handing over security duties to Afghan forces as early as the spring of 2011. ...

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