NATO sets up quake aid relief airlift

NATO agreed tonight to co-ordinate an airlift of aid supplies from Europe to the earthquake-ravaged areas of Pakistan.

NATO agreed tonight to co-ordinate an airlift of aid supplies from Europe to the earthquake-ravaged areas of Pakistan.

The alliance said in a statement that it would use national planes provided by the 26 allies plus the alliance’s own cargo planes to ship in emergency aid.

The first plane, a Boeing 737 jetliner converted to carry cargo, would fly to Slovenia tomorrow to pick up 7.5 tons of relief supplies for Pakistan, alliance officials said.

It was too early to say how many planes would be used in the air bridge operation, officials said, but it was likely to involve civilian and military planes from the allies co-ordinated by NATO’s military command in southern Belgium.

Individual allies may also detach units from the alliance peacekeeping mission in neighbouring Afghanistan to help with the relief effort, NATO officials said.

But the alliance as a whole would not be making a significant shift of resources from Afghanistan due to the need to maintain security there.

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