Taliban Uses Human Shields in Pakistan Fight

90K refugees flee terror campaign as battles continue
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2009 6:38 PM CDT
A soldier of Pakistani security force search locals after securing area from Taliban militants in Lal Qila Maidan in district of Lower Dir, Pakistan on Friday, May 1, 2009.   (Ruhullah Shakir)
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(Newser) – Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's attempt to reclaim control of Taliban-seized districts—perhaps his last shot at maintaining power—ran into new terror tactics today, the Times of London reports. In the Buner district, Taliban are using 2,000 villagers as human shields, while elsewhere they are waging an aggressive campaign that includes kidnappings, looting, and murder.

Pro-Pakistan sentiment was easy to find among 90,000 fleeing refugees. "Kidnapping has become routine in our village," grieved an elderly refugee. "Armed Taliban were picking up people and then demanding a huge ransom for their release." As villagers faced army curfews and navigated remote mountain passes, Pakistan continued to shell Taliban positions and said it had killed 100 militants since fighting started this week.