Tags: Pakistan | unrest | northwest

Pakistan Choppers Pound Taliban as Civilians Flee

Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 10:15 AM

Pakistani helicopter gunships pounded militant targets in the country's northwest Saturday, killing up to 30 rebels, as the number of civilians fleeing an long-awaited offensive there surpassed 300,000.

The exodus from the North Waziristan tribal area on the Afghan border came this week, after the military launched the assault on militant hideouts following a Taliban attack on the airport in Karachi that left dozens dead and destroyed a nascent peace process.

Civilians have fled into the Pakistani cities of Bannu, Peshawar and Kohat and across the border into Afghanistan.

The number of refugees is expected to increase with about 300,000 people trapped in North Waziristan because of a shoot-on-sight curfew that was extended for one day after it expired on Friday.

Authorities have told the stranded residents to leave the area by Sunday.

Arbab Arif, the chief administrator of the tribal areas, told reporters in Peshawar that the total number of people who fled the region has surpassed 300,000.

He added that another 300,000 were yet to be evacuate.

Earlier on Saturday, the military said 30 insurgents were killed in targeted air strikes in Khyber and North Waziristan, semi-autonomous tribal regions on the Afghan border that are an important base for the Pakistani Taliban.

Nearly 280 insurgents have been killed since the start of the operation on Sunday, according to security officials, though it was not possible to confirm the number or identities of those killed.

The military offensive began after a bloody and dramatic attack on Karachi airport last week brought an end to months of largely fruitless government efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

 

© AFP 2017

 
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Pakistani helicopter gunships pounded militant targets in the country's northwest Saturday, killing up to 30 rebels, as the number of civilians fleeing an long-awaited offensive there surpassed 300,000.
Pakistan, unrest, northwest
270
2014-15-21
Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 10:15 AM
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