At Least 18,000 Civilians Flee Pakistan’s Latest Khyber Offensive

Officials Say Overall Number Could Top 20,000

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, October 25, 2011

With Pakistan’s latest offensive in the Khyber Agency leading to violent clashes across several districts, civilians are once again on the move, with large numbers flocking to a refugee camp in the Khyber-Pakhtoonwhah Province.

The spokesman for the provincial “disaster management authority,” which mostly deals with influxes of refugees from the assorted offensives, confirmed that 18,000 people had arrived at the camp seeking aid.

A Khyber government said that the number who had fled the violence was actually quite a bit larger, and was probably above 20,000 including a number of civilians who fled to stay with relatives in the city of Peshawar.

The Khyber Agency is a key part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as it is the route through which much of NATO’s traffic travels into neighboring Afghanistan. The offensives, meant to protect those supplies, tend to rile up insurgent factions, however, putting the route in even more peril.

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