The Pakistani army has accused Taliban insurgents of holding 2,000 villagers against their will as human shields to deter an army offensive. The villagers are said to be held at Pir Baba, a religious shrine in Buner district, which is only 100 km from the capital, Islamabad. Fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani military has escalated over the past few weeks as the Taliban have tried to expand their control beyond the Swat valley, where they established themselves following a deal with the Pakistani government that allowed the implementation of sharia law in the region.
Keeping the army at bay
Pakistani Taliban accused of hiding behind 2,000 civilians