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UN: 190,000 People Escape Fighting in Pakistan's Northwest

  • VOA News

The United Nations refugee agency says nearly 190-thousand people have fled Pakistan's violent Bajaur region near the Afghan border since the latest fighting began there in August.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday that figure includes nearly 170-thousand Pakistanis now living in the country's North West Frontier Province. Another 20-thousand Pakistanis and Afghans have fled to Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan.

The agency says it relies on government estimates and was not able to independently verify the figures.

In the latest fighting in northwestern Pakistan, security officials say troops have killed more than 40 militants.

They say about 25 militants were killed in Swat Valley Monday, along with two military personnel. And at least 15 militants were killed in the Bajaur region.

Pakistan's military has been carrying out an offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the country's tribal regions. The military says it has killed at least one-thousand militants in Bajaur since August.

In other news, a Pakistani television station says it has received a video of a Polish engineer kidnapped recently by suspected Taliban militants. Dawn News says the engineer (Piotr Stanczak) read a statement in English on the video.

Gunmen kidnapped the engineer in Pakistan's Punjab province on September 28th and killed three Pakistanis during the abduction.

Officials say the engineer worked for an oil company,Geofizyka Krakow. The Taliban's demands in exchange for his release have been unclear.

Separately, Pakistani authorities are questioning a U.S. citizen arrested Monday in the country's tribal area along the Afghan border.

Foreigners are required to get special permission from Pakistan's government to enter the tribal area. A U.S. Embassy spokesman said he had no information about the arrest.

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