At one point, about 72,000 government soldiers were being deployed for flood relief, either directly or safeguarding U.S. helicopters, The New York Times reported. While Major Gen. Athar Abbas, a spokesman for the Pakistani military, said most of the troops involved in the battle against insurgents in the northwest remained there, he said the Army has been stretched thin, flooding has cut supply lines, and equipment, including helicopters, has been diverted.
"It has draw the Army's attention for different reasons," he said.
Abbas said that in some regions of Pakistan the military has moved from offense to defense to safeguard territory already seized from insurgents. Planned operations in North Waziristan, already delayed, have been put on hold, and troops will occupy the Swat Valley for six months longer than planned, he said.