By Kamran Haider

(Reuters) – Nearly four million people are living under Taliban rule in northwest Pakistan, suffering human rights abuses from the Islamists as well as the military, Amnesty International (AI) said on Thursday.

The report “As If Hell Fell on Me” says more than 1,300 civilians were killed in fighting between Pakistani troops and Taliban in 2009 while more than one million displaced people are still in various towns.

“Over the last few years, Taliban have been able to assert their rule, their ideology through combination of violence and fear,” Saman Zia-Zarifi, director Asia-Pacific, told reporters in Islamabad.

“They have killed anybody who can challenge them. They have killed hundreds of maliks (tribal elders), religious leaders, civil society workers, teachers.”

He said militants also used the civilian population as human shield against military assaults and often placed themselves in residential areas.

Pakistan went on an offensive last year to crush al Qaeda-linked Pakistani militants who wanted to impose Taliban-style strict Islamic rule in their strongholds in northwestern Swat and the tribal areas.

In their violent campaign, militants killed thousands of people in the country.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-49197520100610

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