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Tens of thousands of Pakistanis flee Southern Waziristan

Al Jazeera reported today that some 28,000 Pakistani soldiers launched a ground offensive against an estimated 10,000 Taliban, Uzbek and Arab Al-Qaeda militants in the Taliban stronghold of Southern Waziristan. Pakistani troops are advancing in three directions, and tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing in advance of the fighting.

The Pakistani army is advancing from Zhob to the south, Razmak to the north and Jandola from the east, and civilians are fleeing Shakoi and Zangra areas to Northern Waziristan. The UN has been preparing for a mass civilian exodus, and has set up makeshift refugee camps and has stockpiled food and supplies. (For a detailed map of the region, see the U. of Texas map collection.)

Southern Waziristan was the site of a Pakistani army offensive in 2004, and suffered heavy losses before the government signed a peace pact.


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