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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs