After Months of Violence, a Trickle of Swatis Returns Home

IDPs Protest as Government's Promised Aid Never Materialized

After months of military offensive in the Swat Valley, a few thousand Swatis were finally allowed to return home today from some of the government’s refugee camps around Peshawar. The families were escorted home by military forces.

Many of the poorest displaced however decided to stick it out in the squalid camps a bit longer, however, in hopes that the Pakistani government would eventually come up with its long promised aid of 25,000 rupees (a few hundred dollars) per family. Scattered protests were reported in the camps over the delay to the aid.

There is considerable distrust for the government among the Swatis, millions of whom were chased out of their homes by a military offensive targeting a few thousand members of a militant faction.

Since then, the displaced have remained in camps facing an uncertain future. The government has been promising that the offensive would be over within “two to three days” and has promised normalcy in short order several times since. The violence has endured, however, and even though the military is finally letting people return, it is unclear how safe they will be once they get there.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.