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Aug 16, 2010

U.S. Defence chief Gates says wants to leave in 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates, a driving force behind both the Afghan war plan and in overhauling the Pentagon’s finances, said in an interview published on Monday he aims to retire next year.

But his press secretary Geoff Morrell shot down suggestions that Gates announced his retirement to Foreign Policy magazine, saying it was nothing more than “musings” over a wish to quit, which the U.S. Defence chief has done before.

Aug 15, 2010

U.S. hopeful Pakistan can avert big cholera outbreak

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. aid official said on Saturday he was optimistic a serious cholera outbreak could be averted in flood-hit Pakistan after emergency steps taken by international and Pakistani relief groups.

At least one case of cholera was confirmed on Friday and several more were suspected, said Mark Ward, acting director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s office for foreign disaster assistance. Epic floods have affected more than 14 million people in Pakistan.

Aug 12, 2010

Sailors press Gates on how defense budget hits them

SAN DIEGO, California (Reuters) – For sailors aboard the USS Higgins docked in San Diego, a popular question for visiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday was how the austerity drive he announced this week would affect them.

“We are fighting two wars and so the budget is a huge deal for us,” said Naval Petty Officer Michael Allen after Gates gave him and the rest of the crew aboard the guided-missile destroyer a commemorative coin.

Aug 12, 2010

Pentagon cautions WikiLeaks over new document dump

SAN DIEGO, California (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday told WikiLeaks it would be the “height of irresponsibility” if it went through with a new threat to publish outstanding documents it had on the Afghan war.

Amid news reports that WikiLeaks plans to soon release about 15,000 documents it had held back last month, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell repeated a U.S. demand for the whistle-blower site to expunge all classified material from the Internet and return the material it had to the U.S. government.

Aug 12, 2010

U.S. triples helicopters for Pakistan flood relief

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida (Reuters) – The United States announced on Wednesday more helicopters and aid to beef up relief efforts in Pakistan, which is grappling with its worst floods in 80 years.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. military was tripling the number of helicopters in Pakistan from six to 19 and was sending in a landing platform to be used off the coast of Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city.

Aug 11, 2010

U.S. sends more helicopters for Pakistan flood relief

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida (Reuters) – The United States announced on Wednesday more helicopters and aid to beef up relief efforts in Pakistan, which is grappling with its worst floods in 80 years.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. military was tripling the number of helicopters in Pakistan and was also sending in a landing platform to be used off the coast of Karachi.

Aug 10, 2010

U.S. increases aid to Pakistan, wary of flood fallout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States announced an additional $20 million to help Pakistani flood victims on Tuesday amid growing concern over the political, economic and security ramifications of the disaster.

The new aid brought to $55 million the amount of funds committed by Washington so far to flood relief efforts in Pakistan, along with U.S. military helicopters that have been airlifting survivors trapped by the worst floods in 80 years.

Aug 8, 2010

U.S. assesses own plans after Pakistan floods

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As flood waters rise in Pakistan, so does U.S. concern over the impact of the disaster on an already fragile economy and how Washington’s robust development plan may be slowed down to deal with the crisis.

Another source of unease, say officials and experts, is fallout from the weak response of the civilian government and to what extent the Pakistani military’s attention is being diverted from its fight against militants in the border areas with Afghanistan where U.S. troops are fighting the Taliban.

Aug 8, 2010

Analysis: U.S. assesses own plans after Pakistan floods

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As flood waters rise in Pakistan, so does U.S. concern over the impact of the disaster on an already fragile economy and how Washington’s robust development plan may be slowed down to deal with the crisis.

Another source of unease, say officials and experts, is fallout from the weak response of the civilian government and to what extent the Pakistani military’s attention is being diverted from its fight against militants in the border areas with Afghanistan where U.S. troops are fighting the Taliban.

Aug 6, 2010

Aid chief: Pakistan flood aid shows U.S. commitment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States hopes its rapid, generous response to Pakistan’s epic floods will help overcome the negative image many Pakistanis have of the United States, the Obama administration’s aid chief said on Friday.

Washington has sent rescue helicopters, delivered medicines and more than half a million halal meals and water as Pakistan’s fragile government struggles with the worst floods in 80 years, which have killed more than 1,600 people.

    • About Sue

      "Sue Pleming covers foreign policy, with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. She joined Reuters in London in 1990 and was based in Brussels before moving to Washington, where her most recent post was covering the State Department. She started her journalism career in southern Africa and has also done reporting stints in Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi."
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