At Least 18,000 Dead in Major Earthquake
The death toll in Saturday’s massive earthquake keeps climbing, and will probably be higher yet by Sunday afternoon. Some 17,000 are feared dead in Kashmir, mainly on the Pakistani side of the line of control (Kashmir is mostly with India but a portion of it is under Pakistani rule; the province is contested between the two countries). There have also been deaths in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. Kabul, Islamabad and Delhi all felt the shock from a distance.
The Bush administration should move quickly and visibly to get aid to the survivors (40,000 are wounded). This is an opportunity finally to prove to the Pakistani public that the US is not a fair-weather friend. (The US has on several occasions since 1947 taken up an alliance of sorts with Pakistan, only to drop it when Pakistan was no longer needed. A lot of Pakistanis are worried that the US will do the same thing when the “war on terror” fades. Convincing them otherwise is key to defeating radical Muslim fundamentalism.