Pakistani tribal families arrive in Bannu, Pakistan June 18, 2014. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
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Pakistani helicopter gunships pounded militant targets in the country's northwest Friday, killing up to 20 rebels, as the number of civilians fleeing an expected ground offensive passed 200,000 .Nearly 150,000 people have left North Waziristan tribal area on the Afghan border this week after the military launched a long-awaited assault against Taliban hideouts.In Afghanistan, Khost administration spokesman Mubarez Mohammad Zadran told AFP that 1,400 refugee families had registered and estimated that as many as 10,000 families -- or 70,000 to 80,000 people -- could be scattered across the border province.In Miranshah and Mir Ali, the two main towns of North Waziristan, more than 80 percent of the population have either left or were planning to leave in next 12 hours.But despite security officials warning that a major ground offensive is imminent, in other areas many people have chosen to remain.A government official in Miranshah Friday estimated that up to 40 percent of the whole population of the region could stay behind.
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