International aid continues to pour into Pakistan in the wake of devastating floods that have killed some 2,000 people so far. And early fears that Islamist charities are leading the aid effort are being realized. ABC news correspondent Jim Sciutto reports from a camp near the city of Nowshera:
Doctors in white coats tested children’s temperatures and blood pressures, looking for the signs of water-borne diseases, from acute diarrhea to potentially deadly cholera. Their mothers sat nearby, batting away the flies. Volunteers doled out food and water. The camp was indistinguishable from several now operating across Pakistan, except for its sponsor: this one is run and funded by the charity arm of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people.
Pakistani officials insist that the aid effort won’t be hijacked by extremists. But that seems to be exactly what’s happening—and it’s hard to dismiss the terrorists’ aid camps when they seem to be operating so effectively. Sciutto’s reporting should help dispel any notion that the extremist aid infrastructure is unable or unprepared to tackle a humanitarian effort of this magnitude. This particular camp’s well-oiled efficiency casts serious doubt on government claims, and provides some damning evidence that the battle for Pakistani hearts and minds rages on in the wake of the disaster.