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UN says more than 2 mn fled NW Pakistan

The number of people forced to flee fighting in northwestern Pakistan since August 2008 has exceeded the two million mark, the UN refugee agency said on Monday.

world Updated: May 19, 2009 02:24 IST

The number of people forced to flee fighting in northwestern Pakistan since August 2008 has exceeded the two million mark, the UN refugee agency said on Monday.

The number includes 1.45 million people registered as displaced during the Pakistani army's offensive against militants since May 2, and another 553,916 who fled earlier fighting, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement.

Parties support govt offensive in Swat

Pakistani soldiers were locked in heavy fighting with Taliban militants in their Swat bastion on Monday, the army said, as the government won broad support for for the offensive from political parties.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said the army would finish the offensive and ensure peace as he sought support from political parties amid growing fears for the wellbeing of more than a million people displaced by the fighting.

Twenty-seven militants including three commanders had been killed in the previous 24 hours while three soldiers, including an officer were killed and 17 wounded, Major-General Athar Abbas.

Gilani told an all-parties conference on the fighting soldiers would remain in Swat until peace was ensured and all the displaced people had gone home.

A government spokesman later said all parties supported efforts to rid the country of terrorism, though some had expressed reservations about the use of force.

Agencies