PESHAWAR: Up to 100,000 people have fled their homes in a district bordering Afghanistan after the military launched an offensive against militants, officials said Wednesday.
Thousands of families escaped from Kurram district after the operation began early this month in a region where militants and Taliban groups active in Afghanistan have bases and training camps.
(Read: Kurram operation continuing successfully: ISPR)
"We have so far registered at least 9,944 families, up to 100,000 people," senior government official Sahibzada Anis, who is supervising help for the refugees, told AFP.
He said that about 1,800 families were living in temporary camps but many others had shifted either to relatives' houses or to rented premises.
"These camps have been set up in schools and colleges, which are closed for summer vacations," he said. "The government may extend vacations if the operation prolongs in Kurram."
When it launched the offensive, the army vowed to clear Kurram of all militants, including those behind suicide attacks and the kidnapping and killing of locals.
Pakistan's seven tribal districts bordering Afghanistan are rife with an insurgency, and are also strongholds of the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives.
Although Pakistan has fought Taliban militants across much of the region, it has so far withstood American pressure to move against the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan.
That region is considered the premier bastion of militancy, and although there have been reports of Haqqani supporters fleeing into Kurram, there is no suggestion that the Kurram offensive is targeting them.
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