There is a human face to the Pakistan forces offensive against Taliban militants which was launched on Saturday.
Internally displaced people are now on the move from the country’s South Waziristan region in search of safety. The United Nations has pledged help to those who are leaving. It is a perilous journey hampered by closed roads and military action. “The situation is very bad. Our family and children are in trouble. We were facing bombardment, mortar fire,in the area. All the main roads are closed and the people are coming out from the mountain roads instead,” said Shuger Jan Mehsood one of those on the move. South Wazaristan is a nerve centre for Pakistani insurgents fighting the US backed government and a major base for foreign militants planning attacks in Afghansitan. The army say it has surrounded the militants and claim their offensive – speaheaded from three different directions and backed by aircraft and aritllery – has claimed the lives of 60 militants with five soldiers being killed in the first 24 hours. The ground offensive with over 30,000 troops deployed has sparked protests. About 2,000 demonstrators gathered in Lahore to wave banners and to chant anti- American slogans with calls for the US and Nato forces to quit Pakistan and Afghanistan.