A joint operation between the army and paramilitary forces, backed by the air force, is reported to be taking place. – File Photo

PARACHINAR, July 3: A military offensive has been launched against militants in central tehsil of Kurram Agency and families have started fleeing the conflict zone, sources said.

A senior official in Peshawar confirmed that a 'full-fledged operation' had been launched in the valley on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, the government had notified 80 square kilometres of the area in central Kurram as conflict zone.

“I have no specific details, but operation has started in the mountainous area,” the official said.

Central Kurram is adjacent to Tora Bora, reportedly the stronghold of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Militants having lost their positions in Waziristan and other parts of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have set up their sanctuaries in Central Kurram.

The sources said that troops had been dropped from helicopters in Manato and Zaimukhet and army and paramilitary forces, backed by air force, were conducting a joint operation in the area.

They said that thousands of troops were taking part in the operation.

The military offensive has triggered displacement as large numbers of families have started moving to lower part of the tehsil where a relief camp has been set up at Durrani area.

The Fata Disaster Management Authority has set up two registration centres where 500 displaced families have enrolled themselves so far.

According to official estimates, over 4,000 families are likely to flee their homes because of the military operation.