450,000 displaced as Pakistan attacks militants

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.

Map: 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.