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Civilians Trapped in Swat Fighting

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9 May 09 | AJE

Pakistan’s army says it’s now engaged in a full-scale battle to root out Taliban fighters holed up in Swat Valley. And reports from Al Jazeera sources on the ground say the fighting is spreading. About one million civilians have made homeless by the conflict. Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman reports on the effort underway to help them. (3:00):

Tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians in the Swat valley have been trapped amid fighting between government forces and the Taliban.

Bodies were reported to be lying in roads, homes have been destroyed and people have been cowering with no means of escape after the military imposed curfews across the region during the clashes on Saturday.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Peshawar, the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), said people were caught after the military imposed “unrelenting” restrictions across the region in an attempt to take control of areas held by opposition fighters.

He said: “No-one can get out; the wounded are lying at home. Most people are running out of supplies.

Humanitarian crisis

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and Pakistani officials has said that about half a million people have been displaced in the last few days since the Pakistani government launched a major offensive against the Taliban.

Another 500,000 people were also reportedly displaced amid violence in the region over the last few months. >>>

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Written by Editors

9 May 2009 at 3:40 pm

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