Around 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have fled Khyber since Jan 20 when troops began operations against militants.—File Photo

GENEVA: Over 100,000 people have fled fighting between government troops and Taliban or al Qaeda-linked militants in northwest Pakistan since January 20, the UN refugee agency said Friday.

“An estimated 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have become displaced since January 20 when government troops began security operations against militant groups in the Khyber” tribal district, said the UNHCR in a statement.

The agency warned that a recent increase in the intensity of combat was pushing even larger numbers of families to flee the region to Jalozai camp, located close to the western Pakistan city of Peshawar.

An average of 2,000 families has been arriving daily at the camp since March 17, said the UNHCR.

“New arrivals say that they have left their homes because of the proximity of fighting and due to instructions by the authorities to evacuate the area,” it added.

This is not the first time that the people of Khyber district have suffered from clashes between the army and militants.

In October last year, at least 18,000 people were reported to have fled their homes in Khyber, fearing a similar onslaught of fighting between the army and militants.

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