The casualties of war with Islamic extremists are many.
The United States has pressured Pakistan to deal with al-Qaida and Taliban hide-outs that exist in the northwestern region of their country because much of the insurgency into Afghanistan targeting American soldiers stems from these strongholds just across the border. Such insurgency operations are both planned and funded from within Pakistan. The Pakistani military periodically takes actions against the Islamic militants, and local villagers are forced to flee the violence.
It is difficult to find accurate accounts of the real number of civilian lives lost as a result of such strikes as the Pakistani military does not allow independent reporting within the highly dangerous areas. The UN steps in to set up camps and care for the people that become displaced from their homes but sadly, a very large number of refugees remain displaced as a result of offensives that have taken place over the last three years.
KHAR, Pakistan –About 22,000 Pakistani villagers have fled military operations against Islamist militants in a tribal region near the Afghan border, a government administrator and the army said Friday.
The offensive, involving aerial bombing, artillery and ground troops, began Jan. 27 in Mohmand, said Roshan Khan Mehsud, the region’s government representative. He said nearly 100 insurgents had been killed so far, and there had been “some casualties” on the army side. He did not mention any civilian casualties.
Pakistan’s military has carried out several military operation in the country’s remote tribal regions bordering Afghanistan over the last three years. It has claimed to have made decisive gains against the insurgents, though many hundreds of thousands of residents have yet to return. Accounts of civilian casualties are numerous and militant attacks in Pakistan remain routine.
Mehsud said an estimated 22,000 people had been displaced by the Mohmand operations. They were living in a government building, schools and three camps away from the fighting. He said the United Nations was providing food, water and medical assistance to the people.