May 8th, 2009
05:09 PM ET

Pakistani offensive sparks 'massive displacement' of civilians

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/08/pakistan.swat.taliban.fighting/art.civilians.flee.afp.gi.jpg caption="Tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians have been forced to abandon their homes in the past few days."]

The United Nations' refugee agency warned Friday of a "massive displacement" of civilians as Pakistan's military broadens its offensive against Taliban militants in the country's troubled northwest.

In the last few days, an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Pakistanis have fled to North West Frontier Province, just south of the military operation, according to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Ron Redmond, citing provincial government data.

Another 300,000 Pakistanis are on the move or expected to flee the fighting, he said Friday.

The massive displacement is a result of "more widespread" fighting between Pakistani forces and Taliban militants as well as people taking "advantage of the partial lifting of curfews to move into safer areas," according to a UNHCR news release.

Those fleeing the recent fighting are in addition to 555,000 previously displaced civilians who have fled their homes in Pakistan's tribal region and North West Frontier Province since August, according to the U.N. agency.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Pakistan • Taliban
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    Maybe this situation would not have happened if the pakistani people, the government had taken action before things escalated to a point that other countries started pressuring them to do something or else!

    May 9, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  2. Martina Ilstad Germany

    I feel so sorry for the Pakistani people,they have to fled.Many years ago i visited this verry beautiful area, with lovley people living there.Now since the forces betwenTaliban and Pakistan situation changes.I hope that peace come back verry soon for the people who are living in this area and at least for the rest of the wold..

    May 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm |