Tribal, Religious Leaders Urge Pakistan Not to Attack North Waziristan

Thousands Flee, Fearing Offensive Is Imminent

At a meeting this weekend, hundreds of tribal and religious leaders issued a statement urging the Pakistani government not to attack the North Waziristan Agency, despite repeated US demands to attack the area.

The meeting was also attended by commanders loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a top militant commander in the region who has signed a nonaggression pact with the Pakistani military, but whose members have often been targeted by US drones.

Pakistani officials have not announced an imminent offensive, but it is believed to be the case by some locals, and local officials have confirmed thousands of civilians are fleeing the area in case of an attack.

The tribal elders urged civilians not to panic, and to remain in their homes until specific announcements about any offensives were made. The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan had claimed last week that an offensive was to begin today, but so far there are no indications of it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

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