Up to 100,000 flee Kurram offensive

July 27, 2011

Email

About 1,800 families were living in temporary camps but many others had shifted either to relatives' houses or to rented premises. — Photo by Reuters

PESHAWAR: Up to 100,000 people have fled their homes in the Kurram tribal region after the military launched an offensive against militants, officials said Wednesday.

Thousands of families escaped from the region after the operation began early this month.

Militants and Taliban groups active in Afghanistan are reported to have bases and training camps in Kurram.

“We have so far registered at least 9,944 families — up to 100,000 people,” senior government official Sahibzada Anis, who is supervising help for the refugees, told AFP.

He said that about 1,800 families were living in temporary camps but many others had shifted either to relatives' houses or to rented premises.

“These camps have been set up in schools and colleges, which are closed for summer vacations,” he said. “The government may extend vacations if the operation prolongs in Kurram.”

When it launched the offensive, the army vowed to clear Kurram of all militants, including those behind suicide attacks and the kidnapping and killing of locals.

Pakistan's seven tribal districts bordering Afghanistan are rife with a home-grown insurgency, and are also strongholds of the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives.