Red Cross: Pakistan Now a War Zone

Tribal areas become war zone as government steps up assault on militants
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2008 6:12 AM CDT
Pakistani men from tribal forces chant slogans against the Taliban in Raghagan, near Khar, in the troubled Bajaur agency, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 26, 2008.    (AP Photo/Aamir Qureshi, Pool)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Pakistan's escalating confrontation with the Taliban has plunged the country into full-scale war, the New York Times reports. A quarter of a million people have fled the fighting as the Pakistani army attacks the militants in tribal areas on at least three fronts, and 20,000 have flooded in desperation over the border into Afghanistan. "This is now a war zone," warned a Red Cross spokesman.

The military's aggressive move into Tailban and al-Qaeda-dominated tribal areas is a response to both US pressure to stem incursions into Afghanistan and a rise in militant attacks on Pakistani cities. The Pakistani government says winning the hearts and minds of those in the tribal areas is vital, although refugees from areas sandwiched between the ferocious Pakistani assault and cruel Taliban warlords say they have had enough of both sides.