US can't afford to lose 'battle for hearts and minds' in inundated Pak to terrorists: NYT

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New York, Aug.19 (ANI): With over 15 to 20 million people rendered homeless and nearly one-fifth of the country submerged, the extent of the damage caused by the floods in Pakistan has been huge, and the impending threat of extremist organisations such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda sowing the seeds of resentment against both Islamabad and Washington has added to the magnitude of the trouble.

Even though the United States has pledged more aid for Pakistan than any other country in the world, it is still struggling to counter the massive anti-American sentiments being fuelled by the Islamic hardliners, who are working extensively to win back the support of the people by offering food and shelter to flood victims.

In some areas, radical Islamic charities have provided shelter and hot meals well before the beleaguered authorities could bring in supplies.

"This is a battle for hearts and minds. It is one that Pakistan's government, and the United States, must not lose," an editorial in The New York Times said.

It underlined that the devastation in Pakistan is likely to worsen as the monsoon rains continue to wreak havoc in the country, however, even an end to the rains won't end the emergency.

"Plans need to be made right now to ensure that next year's crops are planted. Looming ahead is the enormous challenge of rebuilding Pakistan's shattered bridges, roads, structures and agricultural and economic base. For now, the humanitarian needs are paramount," the editorial said. (ANI)

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