School children in troubled northwest Pakistan headed back to their classrooms Saturday for the first time in three months.
were closed during intense fighting between Taliban militants and the
Pakistan military that erupted after the collapse of a peace deal.
students said Saturday they were happy to be back in class, although
many were still missing. Most of the nearly two million people who
fled the fighting have yet to return to the area, which includes Swat
Valley, Lower and Upper Dir and other areas of Malakand district.
militants, who fought to impose strict Islamic law (Sharia) in parts of
northwest Pakistan, targeted schools, especially those that taught
girls. More than 350 schools were damaged or destroyed.
Students from the damaged schools learned lessons in tents Saturday.
officials say more than 350,000 people have returned home. Pakistan's
government began allowing the displaced to return, after saying it had
cleared parts of the northwest of Taliban militants.
those displaced are living in host communities in makeshift or crowded
conditions, while others are in camps. United Nations agencies say
they are focusing on minimizing the effects of flooding and the spread
of disease in these areas during the country's monsoon (rainy) season.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.