At last!

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

Af­ter months of vac­il­lat­ing, Pak­istan fi­nally launched a mil­i­tary of­fen­sive – Zarb-e-Azb – against the Tal­iban in North Waziris­tan to de­stroy the mil­i­tants’ sanc­tu­ar­ies in the re­gion. Ini­tially, the Pak­istan Air Force made only air strikes, send­ing F-16s and Mi­rage fighters to pound sus­pected mil­i­tant hide­outs in the moun­tains to dis­ori­ent the Tal­iban. A ground of­fen­sive by the Pak­istan Army was launched in the next phase with the land forces, sup­ported by gun­ship he­li­copters, comb­ing through the area. Pak­istan also asked Afghanistan to seal the bor­der from its side to avoid the pos­si­bil­ity of mil­i­tants cross­ing over to take refuge in Afghanistan.

Hun­dreds of lo­cal peo­ple left their houses in the wake of the op­er­a­tion. To fa­cil­i­tate the in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons, camps were set up in safer ar­eas of FATA and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa where the IDPs were pro­vided ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties such as clean drink­ing wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and health ser­vice. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, in­stead of pro­vid­ing re­lief goods and food, the gov­ern­ment ini­tially pro­vided each dis­placed fam­ily a cash grant of Rs.12,000 to take care of their needs. Later, they would be pro­vided with Rs.7,000 on a monthly ba­sis.

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