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Thousands Flee Pakistani Tribal Area Ahead Of Expected Military Strikes

Internally displaced Pakistani civilians, fleeing from military operations against Taliban militants in North Waziristan, arrive in Bannu, a town on the edge of the largely lawless tribal area, on January 21.
Thousands of residents of North Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal areas are reportedly fleeing the region ahead of an expected military operation after a series of military strikes during the past week.

On January 26, the AFP news agency quoted a resident of the area man named Rafiullah as saying that "up to 13,000 people have left several villages in North Waziristan."

Pakistani officials confirmed that at least 8,000 people had arrived in Bannu, a town bordering North Waziristan.

The head of the Disaster Management Authority for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Arshad Khan, confirmed that people had fled to Bannu but added that "no military operation has been announced in the tribal area, so there are no instructions to make arrangements for internally displaced people."

Pakistan's military launched retaliatory airstrikes in North Waziristan last week in response to recent attacks on security forces.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP