US Team in Pakistan to Assist in Avalanche Recovery Efforts

Posted April 9th, 2012 at 5:20 am (UTC-5)
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A U.S. team of military experts arrives in Pakistan Monday to provide technical assistance in the recovery efforts for the 135 soldiers and civilians buried by a massive avalanche in mountainous Kashmir near the Indian border.

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited the disaster site Sunday and supervised rescue efforts on the remote 6,000-meter peak, involving helicopters, search dogs, troops, doctors and paramedics. There is no sign that anyone has survived the disaster. Military officials say no bodies have been recovered.

A 20-meter wall of snow plowed into the military complex in the Siachen Glacier region early Saturday.

Both Pakistan and India have military outposts in the area, known as the world's highest battlefield, where the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire.

The Pakistan military said 124 soldiers from the 6th Northern Light Infantry Battalion and 11 civilians were buried under the snow. There is no sign that anyone has survived the disaster.

Pakistan and India have thousands of troops stationed in Kashmir, which both nations claim in full. Territorial disputes over control of the rugged region have sparked two wars between the nuclear-armed neighbors.