News / Asia

Pakistanis Flee Renewed Fighting in Northwest

In this photo taken on Jan. 31, 2011, displaced Pakistanis arrived at a camp set up in Naghi, 18 kilometers northwest of the Afghanistan border in the Pakistani tribal area of Mohmand.
In this photo taken on Jan. 31, 2011, displaced Pakistanis arrived at a camp set up in Naghi, 18 kilometers northwest of the Afghanistan border in the Pakistani tribal area of Mohmand.

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis are fleeing their homes in the country's northwest, trying to escape a new outbreak of fighting between the government and Islamist militants.  

The United Nations refugee agency said Friday about 25,000 people have left their homes in Pakistan's Mohmand agency, near the border with Afghanistan, in the past week. And UNHCR officials warn the number of displaced people could reach 90,000 by the end of the month.

Pakistani officials confirmed Friday there is an ongoing military campaign in the area targeting Pakistani Taliban fighters.

They say the air and ground offensive has killed at least 70 militants since it began January 27.

U.N. officials say many of those fleeing from the recent fighting are carrying little more than the clothes on their backs and are in need of adequate protection from the cold.

The UNHCR says two new camps have been set-up to accommodate the new wave of refugees, but warns that some young and middle-aged men have had a difficult time getting out of the conflict zone.

The UNHCR says ongoing fighting in Pakistan's tribal areas have now displaced about one million people, including almost 140,000 from Mohmand agency.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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