Following a series of armed attacks across the country by government-identified political militants this month, the Pakistan government has been cracking down, including performing small-scale air strike operations in the northern area of North Waziristan. Thousands of families have reportedly fled because of the escalating tensions.
At least 6,000 families have moved out of North Waziristan. The government has maintained that forces are targeting only the militants’ hideouts. However, the fear of being hit even unintentionally by both military and militants has forced local residents to vacate their homes.
The exact number of displaced families cannot be assessed at the moment as the figures being reported by authorities vary, CWS staff in Pakistan report. An official from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has confirmed that around 6,000 families had been displaced but half of them have returned to their homes. But local people report that perhaps more than 70,000 individuals have left their homes.
Fighter jets and helicopters are being used in the airstrikes by the armed forces. It is for the first time that the air force has resorted to using fighter jets in the volatile region since it struck a ceasefire agreement with local Taliban chiefs in 2007. The nearby tribal region of Kurram has also been hit by the strikes.
Currently CWS is closely monitoring the situation and is in contact with local partners and concerned government departments. Should any need arise, CWS emergency teams are ready to start their response program.