News / Asia

6,000 Flee Pakistan Anti-Taliban Offensive

Refugees, who fled the military offensive against the Pakistani militants in North Waziristan, sit on a bed in Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, June 19, 2014.
Refugees, who fled the military offensive against the Pakistani militants in North Waziristan, sit on a bed in Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, June 19, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency reports more than 6,000 refugees have fled into Afghanistan to escape fighting between Pakistan government forces and Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region.

The agency says it is bracing for a larger exodus if fighting continues to escalate.    

The U.N. refugee agency reports 6,452 Pakistanis have fled into the eastern parts of Afghanistan from North Waziristan. 

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says his agency is helping authorities in the eastern province of Khost to register and assist those arriving.

“The newly arrived women, men and children trekked across the mountains from Pakistan to seek safety," said Edwards. "They are being accommodated with local Afghan communities for now.  However, clearly these communities have limited resources and absorption capacity to help.”

Edwards says shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation are urgently needed.  He says UNHCR is concerned that families close to where the fighting is raging will be exposed to further violence.  And this, he says, could make it difficult for aid agencies to reach them with humanitarian aid.

Pakistan’s military mounted an offensive to oust al-Qaida-linked Taliban insurgents from North Waziristan June 12, a week after the militant group attacked Pakistan’s biggest airport in Karachi.  That dramatic attack left 36 people dead, including 10 Taliban gunmen.

It also caused cease-fire talks with so-called moderate Taliban to collapse.  This prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to launch an all-out assault on North Waziristan to remove the Taliban from their tribal base.

But the fighting is causing a flood of people to flee their homes in search of safety.  The Pakistani government confirms more than 100,000 people have been displaced internally from North Waziristan into several areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

UNHCR spokesman Edwards tells VOA the Pakistani government has not yet asked for assistance, but if it does his agency and others will do what they can to help.  In the meantime, he says his agency will work to assist the thousands of refugees who have fled into Afghanistan.  

“We are always concerned when people are displaced," said Edwards. "The difficulty in this area, as you know, is that it is an insecure area.  It is very difficult to access.  It is mountainous.  Getting help to people there is challenging to say the least.”   

Pakistan has been hosting hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees for years.  But in a worrying turnabout, Edwards notes this is the first time refugees from Pakistan have fled into Afghanistan.   He says there are no refugee camps in that part of Afghanistan.  He adds the work ahead is daunting.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Chengaze Khan from: FATA
June 21, 2014 3:22 AM
Actually this report is erroneous. The Inter Services Public Relations had reported that 400 Afghan families refugees had been repatriated to Afghanistan during the registration process of civilians who are evacuating cordoned off areas. As only Pakistan nationals are bring moved to IDP camps under Pakistan Army supervision. This is a very controlled organised and com ordinated operation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs