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'Unarmed' Oz health team to get Pak security cover during flood relief work

By Abdul Nisar

Melbourne, Aug 26(ANI): An Australian Defence Force (ADF) health team heading into flood-ravaged Pakistan will be unarmed and relying on the Pakistani military for security, a defence spokesman has said.

"The ADF is satisfied that the Pakistan military is able to provide an appropriate level of security and force protection to the Australian Task Force," The Courier Mail quoted the spokesman, as saying.

The 150-defence personnel team's 51 members have already reached Pakistan, while the rest of the team will be in place by the middle of next week.

The will be aiming to establish a medical facility near the city of Kot Adu in Pakistan's Punjab province. he region has been hard-hit by the disastrous floods with an estimated 27,000 people displaced, and now facing the threat of water-born disease.

The security of the ADF team is also a key issue, as the region is located close to Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the seat of the country's insurgency.

However, the spokesman said that the security situation has been reviewed.

"The Australian commitment will deliver its emergency relief with appropriate force protection measures," he said.

"It is important to be clear that this is a humanitarian operation aimed at assisting the people of Pakistan through the disaster."

"Given that the Pakistan military will provide force protection and the humanitarian nature of the mission, there is no requirement for the ADF to be armed," he added. (ANI)

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