Pakistan prepares to expand N. Waziristan operation

Locals claim Pakistan army have broken agreement to spare their region from anti-militant operations in North Waziristan.

Pakistan prepares to expand N. Waziristan operation

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pakistan's army have issued evacuation notices to residents in two towns of North Waziristan, officials said Thursday, a sign that the army is planning to expand its operations against militants in the northwestern tribal area.

The notices for residents to leave their homes by Saturday were issued in Edik and Shawal, a valley region near the border with Afghanistan where Taliban rebels are believed to have regrouped.

Locals are upset by the army's move, claiming it broke an earlier agreement that guaranteed their areas would be spared from the military operation.

"This is an unjust and uncalled-for step," Maulvi Mahmud Alam, a tribal elder in Edik, told reporters. "It has caused panic and resentment among the residents."

The enraged Alam added that the residents will not be leaving their homes.

A senior military official told the Anadolu Agency, on condition of anonymity, that the army had already launched air strikes against militants in Shawal valley.

He also said that the army had decided to expand the operation to Edik town because they believe militants may be hiding among the local population.

There are already close to a million people displaced by the military operation, and its expansion is likely to increase the pressure on neighboring regions, relief agencies and refugee shelter camps.

The army claims to have secured the towns of Miranshah, Mir Ali and Boya, killing more than 600 "suspected militants" since the military operation began in mid-June.  

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ağustos 2014, 15:48