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Terrorism & Security

Pakistan bans Taliban outfit amidst military campaign

More than 300,000 people have fled their homes as fighting worsens between security forces and militants.

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According to the Associated Press, the ban signals the end of the Pakistani government's sporadic policy of negotiating with TTP militants. The Interior Ministry announced its decision 24 hours after rejecting a Taliban cease-fire offer in Bajaur. Previously, several cease-fire deals have been negotiated with the TTP and other militants, but none have successfully stemmed the violence or put an end to incursions into Afghanistan.

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According to another Associated Press report, the ban has been championed by United States officials, but dismissed by members of the TTP.

Spokesman Lou Fintor said the U.S. Embassy had seen media reports about the ban. "Pakistan's leadership has clearly stated their commitment to pursuing and eliminating terrorism and securing Pakistan's borders for the benefit of its own citizens," he said.
However, a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban claimed the ban was "meaningless." "Our organization is neither registered nor do we have any bank accounts," Muslim Khan said.

Recent fighting between government forces and militants has forced 300,000 people to flee the Bajaur region. According to numbers from the United Nations, about 60 percent of the total displaced have found refuge with relatives and friends while 40 percent are in emergency camps, reports Reuters. Regional authorities are now seeking millions of dollars to provide aid to those who have left their homes.

More than 200 people, mostly militants but including some civilians, have been killed in the fighting in which fighter jets and attack helicopters have pounded militant hideouts in the mountains.
Security forces issued warnings for people to leave before they began the offensive, and many heeded it, pouring out of the region packed in pick-up trucks or on foot.
Most of the displaced went to stay with friends or family in safer parts of the northwest but a senior provincial official said many were now turning up at relief centres set up in schools and at tent camps looking for help....
The provincial government urgently needed $13 million to help the displaced, [provincial relief commissioner Jameel Amjad] said.

The Pakistani English-language daily Dawn reports that some relief has been provided to those displaced by the fighting.

Referring to the displaced people, [interior minister Malik] said the government had released Rs 80.032 million on the request of the Interior Ministry for relief work and goods had been sent through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to the Provincial Relief Commissioner.
Thirty relief goods trucks were dispatched to Bajaur.
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