Growing Refugee Crisis in Pakistan

Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Reaper UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)

The American-Pakistani campaign to eliminate the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan has created an enormous humanitarian crisis affecting one million people who have fled their homes to escape the fighting, including 546,000 who have already registered as internally displaced people. The violence driving Pakistanis from their homes includes growing attacks by U.S. unmanned spy planes, as well as bombings by the Pakistani army.

Over the weekend, another assault by an American drone reportedly killed 13 Pakistanis, including foreign militants, women and children, in the village of Datta Khel near the Afghanistan border. The region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has long been occupied by refugees—first by Afghanis who escaped their home country after the Soviet Union invaded it in 1979, and remained in Pakistan for almost three decades, and now by Pakistanis.
In some areas of Pakistan entire villages have been destroyed by Pakistani troops, leading to the establishment of almost a dozen refugee camps. The growing numbers of displaced persons is creating a strain on Pakistan government resources to feed and shelter everyone. Last week, two refugees were killed and six injured from fighting with police over shortages of water, food and tents.
Pakistani officials claim U.S. drone attacks have increased since President Barack Obama took office, killing approximately 80 people.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Plight of Pakistan's Displaced (by Barbara Plett, BBC News)
Thousands Flee Bomb Attacks by US Drones (by Daud Khattakin and Christina Lamb, Times of London)


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