Reporters are not allowed into areas where the Pakistani military is on the offensive but some photos of destruction are leaking out. There is a humanitarian disaster in many areas with civilians fleeing the battle zones and setting up in makeshift camps. These camps are no doubt places where the militants can recruit new jihadists. It seems to me that Pakistan armed forces often use airstrikes and artillery to wreak havoc on towns and villages but as this article shows they also mistreat fleeing refugees if they belong to certain tribes associated with militancy."This is from Amnesty.
""Army in Pakistan must stop harassment of Mehsud tribe
22 October 2009
The Pakistani military must stop its harassment of civilians from the Mehsud tribe as they flee the government's latest offensive against the Pakistani Taleban in the northwest of the country, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
The Pakistani military has refused to allow members of the tribe, some of whom are involved in the senior leadership of the Pakistani Taleban, to use major roads to flee the conflict zone, witnesses told Amnesty International.
"Mehsud tribespeople, including women and children, are being punished on the roads as they flee simply because they belong to the wrong tribe," said Sam Zarifi, director of Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific programme. "This could amount to collective punishment, which is absolutely prohibited under international law."
One Mehsud man outside the town of Tank told Amnesty International that he had left his home with his family after army bombing of his area last week.
His family was part of a group of five families, constituting about 20 men, 15 children and 17-18 women with their luggage, who were travelling on donkeys. They were trying to get to their relatives in Tank but were afraid of the army because of the restrictions imposed on Mehsud tribespeople using the road.
...."The Pakistani government must immediately investigate this targeting of members of the Mehsud tribe by the army and put an end to it. The group has already suffered years of fear and oppression under Taleban control in their region - the government should help to find a path for them to safety and a solution to their problems - not exacerbate them," said Sam Zarifi.
South Waziristan is the largest of the seven agencies within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, with an estimated population of 450,000, most of whom belong to either the Mehsud or Wazir tribes. The population of the Mehsud tribe is thought to be around 300,000.....""