U.S troops to leave Pakistan in March: official
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Feb 3, IRNA
American troops, engaged in operation in Pakistan's earthquake-hit areas, will leave Pakistan in March, the country relief commissioner said on Friday.
The U.S troops will start leaving this month and the departure process will complete in March, Federal Relief Commissioner Major General Farooq Ahmad Khan told a news conference.
He said the United States has given control of Muzaffarabad hospital to Pakistan and they are also closing its another field hospital in the town of Shinkiari in North West Frontier Province.
No decision about the return of the U.S. helicopters has yet been taken and such a decision will be taken with Pakistan's consent, Farooq said.
He said that the United States will hand over refilling stations and engineering equipment to Pakistan after the return of American soldiers.
Around 1200 U.S troops were engaged in quake relief mission.
The announcement of U.S soldiers withdrawal coincides with the end of NATO relief mission in Pakistan.
Around 1000 NATO troops stationed in Bagh district of Kashmir for three months.
The Pakistani relief commissioner said that Iran, Italy and Cuba have gifted their mobile hospitals to Pakistan.
He said that a decision has been taken to shift the worst-hit city of Balakot as it has been declared a dangerous zone.
Farooq said priorities are being given to reopening of blocked roads and supplying necessities to the quake survivors.
He said essential items are being sent to the affectees through snow vehicles donated by Norwegian Red Cross.
He said other priorities included continuing building of one room shelter out of rubble, winterization of tent dwellings including provision of stoves and preventing winter related diseases in the affected areas and deployment of lady doctors in far flung areas.
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