Pakistani Military Offensive Against Militants Displaces Over 100,000

A Pakistani military offensive against militant groups has uprooted more than 100,000 people since January in the north-wester part of the country that borders Afghanistan.

Reports say that 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the clashes that began on 20th January in the Khyber Agency region of the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), new arrivals say that they left their homes because of the proximity of fighting and due to instructions by the authorities to evacuate the area.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said a recent increase in the intensity of the fighting is pushing even larger numbers of families to flee to the safer ground in the Jalozai camp.

In the camp, the UNHCR is registering the civilians and providing them with basic humanitarian needs.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is currently providing food aid in Jalozai, located near the western city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

UNHCR has registered an average of 2,000 families per day since mid-March. All of those registered were provided with a UNHCR aid package, a hygiene kit from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and an initial one-month food supply.

UNHCR says there are some 62,818 people currently in the Jalozai camp, of which 47,134 were living in the camp before 17th of March. Ms. Fleming cited that this is now the largest camp for internally displaced persons in Pakistan.

This is not the first time that a Pakistani military offensive has uprooted such large numbers of civilians. On 2009, clashes between Government forces and militants in north-west Pakistan are continuing to uproot people from their homes, with nearly 130,000 people being registered daily as displaced.

On 2009, provincial government authorities have noted that the number of uprooted from the Swat, Lower Dir and Buner districts registered in a fast-track process had reached almost 2.4 million people.

In 2008, Pakistani security forces killed five al Qaeda-linked militants and captured 20 in an operation near the Afghan borderafter insurgents abducted four troops in the area.

Many militants fled to Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands after U.S.-backed troops ousted the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001. They have been conducting raids into Afghanistan and Pakistan from their mountain strongholds.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.