– TALIBAN HOLDS 2,000 AS HUMAN SHIELDS
Taliban militants who have seized swathes of NWFP in Pakistan have inflicted a reign of terror on villagers, landowners and the police, using kidnapping, looting, pillaging and murder to impose their will, a report, on Sunday 05/03/2009, claims.
As Pakistani forces stepped up their campaign to retake territory in the districts of Buner, Dir and Swat District, it emerged that in one Taliban-controlled village, Pir Baba in Buner, the militants were holding 2,000 people as human shields in case the army attacked.
Elsewhere the Taliban appeared to be relying on kidnapping to extort funds and intimidate the population. Many of their victims have been members of rich families.
Police officers were also being abducted or killed. Last Thursday militants kidnapped a local officer and 11 guards in Upper Dir, an area that had been peaceful. In Mingora, the largest city in Swat, three policemen were abducted by militants.
President Asif Ali Zardari, who will meet Barack Obama at the White House this week, launched Operation Black Thunder on Sunday 04/26/2009, with the aim of rolling back the Taliban advance.
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