Saudi Arabia and the United States agreed on Wednesday (6 February) to substantial aid to Pakistan, in the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.
AV Afghan refugee camp near Peshawar, helicopter landing (2 shots)
GV Refugees sitting in groups as Congressmen descend from helicopter, and are greeted (2 shots)
GV & SV Afghan refugee spokesmen shaking hands with Congressmen, as refugee men look on (2 shots)
GV Large crowd of refugees watching congressmen sitting and speaking to refugees through interpreter
GV Congressmen leaning forward talking to refugees, and crowds listening (2 shots)
GV Congressmen walking through camp followed by group of refugees
GV & SV Refugee children waiting for congressmen who squat down to talk to them (2 shots)
GV PULL BACK TO LV Camp with tents in background as children play
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Background: Saudi Arabia and the United States agreed on Wednesday (6 February) to substantial aid to Pakistan, in the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Officials declined to give details but said the aid would be more than the four million dollars the U.S. had initially offered... a sum President Zia-Ul-Haq reportedly dismissed as "peanuts". At the same time guerrillas, fighting the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, renewed their pleas on Thursday, (7 February) for weapons to combat Soviet tanks and planes. They made their request to a group of U.S. congressmen, in Pakistan to review the Afghan refugee situation.
SYNOPSIS: The Congressmen visited the Northwest frontier province of Peshawar, calling on the Azakhail refugee camp by helicopter. Their visit followed a trip to the headquarters of the Kyber Rifles in the strategic Kyber Pass.
The six, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriation Committee included Republicans and Democrats, and were led by Congressman David Obey from Wisconsin. The refugees, desperately in need of additional aid, greeted the congressmen warmly.
General Fazle Haq, governor of the province of Peshawar, told the visitors that "quite naturally" fighting men, among the estimated four hundred and fifty thousand refugees, frequently crossed the border on raids of forays. He said this could give the Soviet Union a ready-made excuse to strike into Pakistan.
The Congressmen's visit included hearing directly from the refugees of conditions in the large camp. A jumbo jet loaded with almost fifty thousand blankets arrived in Islamabad the same day. It was the first direct U.S. aid to reach Pakistan since the Soviet intervention in the refugees' country.
Some of the large population of children in the camp had an opportunity also to speak, through interpreters to the visiting congressmen. On the subject of the guerrillas' plea for weapons, Mr. Obey later told newsmen that in this part of the world, the U.S. must respond to Soviet moves not only in a forceful way, but also a thoughtful way.