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90,000 flee tribal Pakistan fearing anti-Taliban push

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Pakistan's tribal South Waziristan South Waziristan (Urdu: جنوبی وزیرستان) is the southern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11 585 km² (4,473 mi²).  region fearing an imminent army offensive against Taliban militants, officials said Wednesday.

Military and government officials vowed in June to launch an operation into the mountainous northwest stronghold of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but so far only air raids and occasional artillery strikes have hit rebel sanctuaries.

However, the wave of Taliban attacks killing 125 people in Pakistan since last Monday have stoked stoked  
adj. Slang
1. Exhilarated or excited.

2. Being or feeling high or intoxicated, especially from a drug.
 fears that a retaliatory ground onslaught is looming, sending more people fleeing into districts neighbouring South Waziristan.

"People are coming out of the area and around 90,000 people have left the area and have been shifted to safer places in Dera Ismail Khan Dera Ismail Khan (dā`rə ĭsmīl` khän), town (1981 pop. 64,358), N central Pakistan, c.1 mi (1.6 km) on the western bank of the Indus River.  and Tank," said Shahab Ali Shah For the Guantanamo captive, sometimes listed as Ali Shah, see Said Mohammed Ali Shah.

Ali Hassimshah Omarshah, (known as Ali Shah, born August 7, 1959, Harare) is a former Zimbabwean cricketer who played in 3 Tests and 28 ODIs from 1983 to 1996.
, the top administrative official in South Waziristan.

That figure was as of August 1, he said, but there has been a fresh exodus after 10 militants staged an audacious hostage siege at army headquarters near Islamabad on Saturday and Sunday, deeply embarrassing the military.

"Again people have started coming out of the area because of the fear of an army operation," Amir Latif, chief administrative official in Tank district, told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. . "We have started registering them and giving them help,"

Hameedullah Khan, a senior government official in Dera Ismail Khan, said that his district had registered about 8,300 families -- up to 60,000 people -- with the rest taking sanctuary in Tank and elsewhere.

An anti-Taliban offensive in northwest Swat Swat (swät), district of the Malakand division, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan. Saidu Sharif is the capital. The largely inaccessible region is reached by air and through mountain passes from the south and east.  valley earlier this year forced nearly two million people from their homes, creating a massive humanitarian crisis A humanitarian crisis (or "humanitarian disaster") is an event or series of events which represents a critical threat to the health, safety, security or wellbeing of a community or other large group of people, usually over a wide area.  in impoverished Pakistan. Most have since returned home.

Residents said that life was becoming increasingly difficult in South Waziristan, with sporadic air strikes hitting in the mountains and a military blockade of key roads taking a harsh toll on civilians.

"I left the area because the government is going to launch an operation against the Taliban," said Mohammad Hashim Khan Hashim Khan is a former squash player from Pakistan. He won the British Open seven times between 1951 and 1958. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest squash players of all time, and was the first great player to emerge from a Pakistani dynasty of squash players which , who left his hometown of Sarwakai for Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday with seven family members.

"We were facing food shortages as forces have blocked various roads. Most of the residents are shifting their families to safer places."

The army headquarters siege and three recent massive suicide blasts have shown the Taliban threat is far from quashed, despite the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in South Waziristan on August 5.
Copyright 2009 AFP South Asian Edition
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Publication:AFP South Asian Edition
Date:Oct 14, 2009
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