Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies cast light on dark history

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Taliban accused of using human shields in war-torn Swat

©

Latest update : 2009-05-19

Human Rights Watch has accused Taliban fighters of preventing civilians from fleeing Mingora, the Swat valley's main city, and Pakistani forces of taking "insufficient precautionary measures" to spare civilians lives.

AFP - A US-based rights group on Tuesday blamed Taliban militants using "human shields" and Pakistan military strikes for causing a high loss of civilian life during fighting in the northwest.

 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) quoted residents as saying that Taliban militants laid landmines in Mingora, the capital of the Swat valley, and "prevented many civilians from fleeing, using them as 'human shields' to deter attack".
   

"Pakistani forces appeared to have taken insufficient precautionary measures in aerial and artillery attacks that have caused a high loss of civilian life," said the New York-based watchdog.
   
The group urged Taliban militants -- who have fought to impose sharia law in Swat for nearly two years and last month advanced further towards the Pakistani capital, precipitating the offensive -- to allow civilians to escape.
   
"The Taliban's use of landmines and human shields is a sorry addition to their long list of abuses in the Swat valley," HRW Asia director Brad Adams said in a statement.
   
"They urgently need to let civilians leave areas of fighting."
   
HRW said that even after Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani issued "appropriate instructions" to minimise collateral damage, it received "several accounts of high civilian casualties in Pakistan military attacks".
   
On May 8, 35 people, including 14 children and four women, were killed when army mortar shells and missiles struck the Shahdra and Wathke neighbourhoods of Mingora, the rights group said.
   
"Reportedly none of those killed were Taliban fighters," it said.
   
Quoting witnesses, the group said at least three women and eight children were killed in air strikes against the Swat town of Matta on May 11.
   
With the area a closed military zone, from which journalists and human rights monitors are barred from entering, HRW said it was impossible to independently verify the information.
   
Pakistan has been pressing a furious offensive in the northwest districts of Swat, Buner and Lower Dir in what the government has hailed a fight to "eliminate" Taliban militants from the area.
   
The UN refugee agency said 1.45 million people have registered as displaced since May 2, pushing to more than two million the number of people forced to flee fighting in northwestern Pakistan since last August.
   
HRW cited residents as saying that fewer than 10,000 civilians remain in Mingora, where Taliban forces have prevented many from leaving, while others are too infirm or poor, or are unwilling to leave.


   

 

Date created : 2009-05-19

Comments

COMMENT(S)