Pakistan risks ‘human catastrophe’

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Al Jazeera
May 26, 2009

Thousands of civilians trapped in Pakistan’s Swat valley, where the military is battling Taliban forces, face a “humanitarian catastrophe” unless help reaches them soon, a rights group has said.

Human Rights Watch says the military must lift its curfew of the area, which has been in place for a full week, and airdrop essential food, water and medicine to the 200,000 residents trapped there.



Brad Adams, the Asia director of the US-based group, said on Tuesday: “People trapped in the Swat conflict zone face a humanitarian catastrophe unless the Pakistani military immediately lifts a curfew that has been in place continuously for the last week.

“The government cannot allow the local population to remain trapped without food, clean water, and medicine as a tactic to defeat the Taliban.”

Human Rights Watch said it was getting persistent reports of civilian casualties from army shelling and aerial bombardments as well as reports that the Taliban is killing civilians.

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