NATO to withdraw next month aid forces from Pakistan

NATO said Tuesday it would begin scaling back forces helping with aid operations in Pakistan's earthquake-hit zone this week and withdraw fully by February. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has about 1,000 troops from its multinational force aiding in relief efforts following the devastating South Asian earthquake on Oct. 8 that killed at least 87,000 people, mostly in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The first units will leave Kashmir later this week, NATO spokesman Maj. Eric Bruijn said. "We expect to be out of the Kashmir region by February 1," said Maj. Bruijn. "We are here for initial disaster relief ... and that's what we have done."

NATO sent medical teams, engineers and pilots to assist in quake recovery efforts. About 3.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.6-magnitude temblor, reports the AP. I.L.

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