Taliban and soldiers abusing millions in Pakistan, says Amnesty International

Survey of North-West tribal belt by rights group says militants torturing and killing women, aid workers and beardless men.

Nearly 4 million Pakistanis live under Taliban rule in the north-western tribal belt, where they suffer human rights abuses from both militants and the army, Amnesty International said today.

As if Hell Fell on Me, a report based on interviews with nearly 300 people, says millions live in a "human rights free zone" where militants torture and kill women, aid workers and men without beards.

Soldiers have also committed serious violations, including indiscriminate artillery fire and extrajudicial executions, as the army swept across the tribal belt over the past year, it said.

"The Taliban have been able to assert their ideology through a combination of violence and fear," said Sam Zarifi, one of the authors. "Meanwhile the army seems focused on killing the enemy and not on protecting its own citizens."

At least 1,300 civilians died during conflict in 2009 in north-western Pakistan, an area that spans the seven agencies of the tribal belt and Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, formerly known as North-West Frontier province.

guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/10/pakistan-human-rights-taliban-army

report:

amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGNAU2010061017084&lang=e

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