06/01/2009, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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New Taliban attacks, two dead and eight wounded in NWFP

Islamists attack a bus terminal in Kohat. In the Mohmand Agency area a school for girls is demolished. Military lifts daytime curfew in seven Swat Valley towns to let civilians out of their hiding places. The number of displaced people hits the three million mark as the humanitarian emergency continues.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A bomb blast at a busy bus terminal in the city of Kohat in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) killed at least two people and injured eight others. The attack is related to the ongoing offensive by the Pakistani Military against the Taliban in neighbouring Swat Valley. The curfew imposed on the area has however been lifted to allow residents to leave their homes in search for food and other supplies. The Taliban also blew up a school in the Mohmand Agency, a district in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

A bomb went off in a crowded bus terminal in the early afternoon in Kohat, an important garrison town in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). According to early reports, at least two people were killed, and another eight were wounded, but the death toll is expected to grow.

In another attack, this one in Shewafarash, a tribal area near the border with Afghanistan and the NWFP demolished a school for girls. Early reports suggest that no one was killed or hurt in the attack.

Elsewhere the Taliban also blew up two medical facilities and two schools. And last week they attacked the city of Peshawar twice, killing tens of people, wounding hundreds more.

This wave of attacks represents the Taliban’s response to the major offensive launched by the Pakistani military to regain control over large areas of the Swat Valley, including the Taliban stronghold of Mingora.

The conflict has so far provoked a major humanitarian crisis with the exodus of three million civilians.

In the meantime this morning the military lifted daytime curfews in seven more Swat Valley towns—Bahrain, Madyan, Fatehpur, Khwazakhela, Matta, Alpurai and in the neighbouring district of Shangla—to allow residents to leave their homes in search of food and other supplies.

In Mingora residents are coming out of their hiding places, hungry and exhausted.

An AP reporter which reached the city yesterday afternoon said he saw two decomposing bodies lying unburied in a cemetery and a third, charred corpse near a shopping mall.

“We have been starving for many days. We have been cooking tree leaves to keep ourselves alive. Thank God it is over,” said one resident. “We need food. We need help. We want peace.”

Other witnesses said they say the military open fire at civilians leaving hiding places to seek help.

Pakistan’s military has not yet either confirmed or denied the allegation.

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