Tuesday, October 18

Militant Groups Reach Quake-Hit Areas

Some extremist Islamic groups have reportedly moved into Pakistan's earthquake-hit areas in the absence of the military, winning the victims' gratitude.

"They (the extremists) helped us when everyone else had forgotten us," said one woman in the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir, which took the brunt of the 7.7 quake's wrath.

After waiting in vain for five days for the Pakistan military to rescue her, the woman was helped by a member of the Jamaat ul-Dawa, The Times of London reported.

Dawa is the parent of Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been linked by the United States to al-Qaida. There are similar militant groups operating in the area, said The Times.

The soldiers of Dawa sprang into action while government and relief agencies dragged their feet in helping the victims, the report said.

In Muzaffarabad, the shattered capital of the province, Dawa members set up a field hospital within 36 hours of the catastrophe, run by Amer Aziz, a British-trained orthopedic surgeon who had once been Osama bin Laden's doctor, the report said.

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