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Mass exodus out of Pakistan's North Waziristan as army readies ground offensive

Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 01:33

Some 350,000 people are creating a mass exodus out of Pakistan's troubled North Waziristan, as the military readies for a ground offensive against a Taliban insurgency. Mana Rabiee reports.

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Out of Pakistan's troubled North Waziristan, comes a mass exodus. Scores of displaced men, women and children, leaving their homes, only to get stranded at checkpoints like this one. The military has announced a full-on offensive against a Taliban insurgency. It's pounding villages and militant hideouts, sending a wave of panicked people spilling into nearby regions and Afghanistan. Those who stayed behind had until Sunday to get out. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) DISPLACED PERSON, SAMI ULLAH, SAYING: "We demand the government gives an extension to the curfew. The people are still trapped there; the government should give them a chance to get out of there." Officials say some 350,000 people have been displaced since the operation began a week ago. At this checkpoint, they've set up a national registration database. They're refugees now, lining up for rations. One man says all he got were graham crackers and juice. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) DISPLACED PERSON FROM MIR ALI, MEHMOOD KHAN, SAYING: "We are facing a lot of hardships. Our cattle died on the way. Many people have died there. I came here from Mir Ali. It is misery all over." Getting security clearance to leave isn't simple. The government says terrorists inside the cordoned areas are also trying to get out, and could sneak through among the refugees. Time may be running out. The army has already launched daily airstrikes but the full-scale ground offensive is yet to start.

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Mass exodus out of Pakistan's North Waziristan as army readies ground offensive

Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 01:33