Red Cross officials have expressed grave concern about the plight of
civilians in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where the Pakistani military is
waging war against Taliban fighters.
The officials made the comment Sunday after completing their first
assessment of the humanitarian needs of people there, calling the
The head of the Red Cross team (Daniel O'Malley) said
people trapped in the battleground have little food, and that there is
no running water, electricity or fuel for generators.
Pakistani Defense Secretary Syed Athar Ali said Sunday the offensive could end within days.
He told the Asian security summit in Singapore there is a misperception
that Pakistan is the source of extremism in the region. He said
instability trickled in from neighboring Afghanistan after the 2001
terrorist attacks against the United States.
The military launched the offensive in the Swat Valley and surrounding
districts last month after militants violated a peace deal and advanced
within 100 kilometers of the capital, Islamabad.
The United Nations says more than 2.5 million people have fled their homes since the fighting began.
Meanwhile, Pakistani intelligence officials said Sunday the military
has killed at least 40 Taliban militants in the restive South
Waziristan tribal region along the Afghan border. The officials said at
least two government soldiers also died in the fighting.