Pakistan's frontier turns into war zone - Print Version - International Herald Tribune
PESHAWAR, Pakistan: War has come to Pakistan, not just as terrorist bombings, but as full-scale battles, leaving Pakistanis angry and dismayed as the dead, wounded and displaced turn up right on their doorstep.
An estimated 250,000 people have now fled the gunship helicopters, jets, artillery and mortar fire of the Pakistani Army, and the assaults, intimidation and rough justice of the Taliban who have dug into Pakistan's tribal areas.
About 20,000 people are so desperate that they have flooded over the border from the Bajaur tribal area to seek safety in war-torn Afghanistan. Many others are crowding around this northwest Pakistani city, where staff members from the UN refugee agency are present at nearly a dozen camps.
The International Committee of the Red Cross flew in a special surgical team from abroad last week to work alongside Pakistani doctors and help treat the wounded in two hospitals, so urgent has the need become.
"This is now a war zone," said Marco Succi, the spokesman for the Red Cross.
Not since Pakistan forged an alliance with the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has the Pakistani Army fought its own people on such a scale and so close to a major city. After years of relative passivity, the army is now engaged in heavy fighting with the militants on at least three fronts.