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Pakistan Army Rejects Amnesty Report on Taliban Control

Pakistan army Thursday rejected a report by Amnesty International that millions of Pakistanis in the northwest tribal areas are subject to abuses by the Taliban.

Nearly four million people are currently living under the Taliban in Northwest Pakistan without rule of law and effectively abandoned by the Pakistani government, said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General.

The 130-page report, “As if Hell Fell on Me”: The Human Rights Crisis in Northwest Pakistan, is based on nearly 300 interviews with residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and adjacent areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The report gives voice to those whose experiences are rarely reported and reveals the abuses faced by the region’s residents.

Pakistani army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas rejected the report and said that tribesmen had supported the army’s campaign against the militants.

In his reaction to the report he said that tribal elders believed that the army has played key role in restoration of life in the tribal regions.

The Amnesty said in its report that there are still more than one million people who were displaced from their homes in Pakistan ‘s northwest tribal belt by the conflict with the Taliban whose plight is largely ignored and are in desperate need of aid.

Amnesty International’s review of available information also suggests that at least 1,300 civilians were killed in the fighting in northwest Pakistan in 2009, from a total of more than 8,500 casualties (including combatants).

The United States’ use of drones to target insurgents in northwest Pakistan has generated considerable resentment inside Pakistan. Amnesty International called on the U.S. to clarify its chain of command and rules of engagement for the use of drones and ensure proper accountability for civilian casualties.

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