Pakistani soldiers descended on a Taliban stronghold in Swat Valley today to “search and destroy,” a military spokesman tells Reuters. Ground troops were also moving toward the remote northwest region as the military ramps up its offensive against insurgents there. Officials say 751 of the vastly outnumbered militants and 29 soldiers have died; meanwhile, as many as 800,000 civilians have fled.
Many Pakistanis support the military action, but a growing humanitarian crisis could change that. The UN urged aid for those displaced by the fighting, as other organizations warn that food and supplies are inadequate. “The speed and scale of this crisis is posing huge challenges for the government and the humanitarian community,” a UN spokesman said.