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450,000 displaced as Pakistan attacks militants

By Aliza Kassim, CNN
updated 5:38 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
A Pakistani health worker gives a dose of polio vaccine to a child in Bannu on June 25. The World Health Organization has launched a campaign to stop the spread of the illness as hundreds of thousands of people flee North Waziristan. A Pakistani health worker gives a dose of polio vaccine to a child in Bannu on June 25. The World Health Organization has launched a campaign to stop the spread of the illness as hundreds of thousands of people flee North Waziristan.
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Children being given polio vaccines
Pakistani Army launches offensive
Food in short supply
Police and troops keep order
Angry scenes as people wait for aid
Queuing for food
For some, the wait was too long
Government is registering those fleeing
A place of refuge
Women, children far from home
Delivering aid
Villagers flee North Waziristan
Rations being shared
Passing government checkpoints
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Civilians flee North Waziristan as planes strike militants
  • More than 250 insurgents have been killed, army says
  • The Pakistani Taliban is among the targets

(CNN) -- More than 450,000 Pakistanis have fled their homes for safer areas in the past two weeks as the military has attacked suspected anti-government militant hideouts in northwestern Pakistan, disaster management officials said Tuesday.

Many of the displaced civilians have moved from the North Waziristan region, where the military campaign is largely focused, to camps in Pakistan's nearby Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, according to the country's army.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a special meeting with government ministers about the exodus on Tuesday, his office said.

Pakistan takes on Taliban militants
Brazen terror attacks in Pakistan
Map: Civilians flee North Waziristan  Map: Civilians flee North Waziristan
Map: Civilians flee North WaziristanMap: Civilians flee North Waziristan

"Government is with (the displaced citizens) in these hard times and they will be taken care of," Sharif said.

Pakistan launched a military operation in North Waziristan and other restive parts of Pakistan's loosely governed tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan on June 15. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said the offensive is meant to "finish off" militants in the area "once and for all," Asif told CNN. The Pakistani Taliban is among the targets.

More than 250 insurgents have been killed, according to the army. That includes 47 killed in airstrikes Tuesday, including 27 in North Waziristan and 20 in a different portion of the tribal areas, the army said.

The tribal areas are a base for anti-government militants, including those with the Islamist Haqqani movement.

Scores of vehicles moved toward North Waziristan to evacuate stranded people. Local tribesmen complained last week that transporters were charging high rates because of a severe shortage of vehicles.

About 455,590 people, including 191,897 children, have fled, according to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

Food and cooking oil are being distributed to the civilians at six locations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the army said.

READ: Pakistan condemns drone strike in North Waziristan

CNN's Jason Hanna and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.

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