Pakistan Flood Chaos Gives Militants Chance to Regroup
Attacks rising as police, military focus on relief operation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2010 8:43 AM CDT
A Pakistani flood survivor hangs onto a hovercraft and waits to get relief food distributed by naval officials in Sangi Village in southern Pakistan yesterday.   (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)
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(Newser) – Islamic militants are making the most of the floods devastating Pakistan, warn officials. With the military and police occupied by relief work, militants have taken the opportunity to regroup in the country's northwest, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hundreds of militants attacked police near Peshawar this week, and two tribal elders working with anti-Taliban militias have been assassinated.

The floods have made millions homeless and it will take years to repair the country's infrastructure. Officials fear this will create economic stagnation, turning more people towards militancy. "None of us want to see this crisis provide an opportunity or excuse for people who want to exploit the misfortunes of others for political or ideological purposes," Sen. John Kerry said in Islamabad yesterday, announcing that the US is increasing its flood relief aid to $150 million.