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Schools in Pakistan's Northwest Re-Open


School children in troubled northwest Pakistan headed back to their classrooms Saturday for the first time in three months.

Schools were closed during intense fighting between Taliban militants and the Pakistan military that erupted after the collapse of a peace deal.

The 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.

The 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.

Pakistani 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.

Many of 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.

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