WHILE the ongoing military operation has entered the third week, there is still no indication of when it is going to be wound up after achieving its objectives. Consequently more and more displaced persons are arriving in search of shelter. Despite claims of most of Buner district having been captured, the situation all over the district remains uncertain which discourages the displaced population from returning to their homes. Curfew continues to be imposed in areas avowedly cleared from the militants and the police is still frightened to enter the areas which are declared to have been liberated from the militants. Most of the harvests in Buner continue to rot as farmers feel insecure to return. In northern Swat reportedly 200,000 people face starvation and are unable to move out because of the curfew and lack of transport. On Friday a desperate population marched from Bahrain to Madian demanding "Atta do, ya rasta do". Reportedly they shouted slogans both against the Taliban and the law enforcement agencies. A failure to provide food supplies to the people in the Kalam area, who had earlier fought the advancing Taliban, would push them into the arms of the militants. It is time to speed up the military operation. The longer it continues the greater the chance of it losing the public support, which it currently enjoys. So far the air force has played a major role in the operation. It is time the ground forces moved in to cleanse towns like Mingora which still remain in control of the militants. Unless this is done the top leadership of the Taliban will remain intact as happened during the last two military operations in Swat. There is a dire need to win the hearts and minds of the displaced persons who are undergoing untold sufferings to ensure not only the security of the country but also of the world at large which is being threatened by extremism and militancy. The US and EU have to urgently fulfill commitments made at the donors' conference on Thursday. The world at large has to respond urgently to the UN flash call for $543. More funds need to be raised from inside the country. As NWFP alone cannot cope with the crisis, Punjab and Sindh which are the two largest provinces in the federation, must share some of the responsibilities of hosting the IDPs. A few thousand migrants can hardly disturb the ethnic balance in Sindh, as was argued by provincial minister Shazia Marri. There is a need to realize that this is a national crisis which requires sacrifices from all. It was unfortunate to stop hundreds of IDPs, who as citizens have a right to move to any part of Pakistan, from entering Sindh on Friday. They were allowed to move in only after intervention by President Zardari.