Pakistan’s Double Exodus

May 15, 2009

People tend to try to escape devastation like this too

People tend to try to escape devastation like this too

As the carnage continues in Swat, there’s some doubt in my mind about the causes of the mass exodus of people from Pakistan’s frontier regions.

It’s been widely reported that up to 850,000 people have fled from fighting in Swat, escaping clashes between the Pakistan Army and “Taleban” forces.

But in the months leading up to the assault, hundreds of thousands also fled attacks from American unmanned aerial drones.

Most of those refugees seem to have fled the Bajaur region, wheras the current exodus originates in Swat (see this useful map to clarify the geography).

But the huge numbers of refugees congregating to the south could be fleeing either the drone attacks or the army assault. We shouldn’t forget the role of UAV’s in terrorising and displacing the people of the frontier.

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