Khar (Pak), Aug 14 : In the wake of air strikes over the past few days, militants in the Bajaur tribal area in Pakistan are reportedly restricting people from leaving the area, in a bid to use them as human shields from air attacks.
People have been leaving Bajaur for safety over the past few week, and going to Dir, Peshawar and other areas in NWFP.
Air force planes continue to bomb different areas in Bajaur Agency, even as 24 people, including some militants, were killed yesterday.
Local people said militants had stopped families in Mamond tehsil from leaving the area. "Militants forced the fleeing tribesmen to stay back. The men were given Kalashnikovs and asked to keep their women in homes," the Dawn quoted one Mamond as saying.
He added that the militants had asked the people to take part in what they called jihad against 'infidels'.
People in Salarzai have also been stopped from leaving their homes and the area. Witnesses said planes and helicopters attacked several areas in Khar and Mamond tehsils. Several houses in Damadola, Kaga, Neiag Banda, Lowi Sam and Khaza were hit.
According to sources, planes bombed Kairwana where local people had gathered for a funeral. Planes and helicopters started bombing different parts of Bajaur on Friday after militants besieged over 150 security personnel in Lowi Sam and laid a siege to Khar, the local administrative headquarters.
More than 100 people, including militants, and 24 soldiers have been killed and dozens of houses demolished. According to official sources, F-16 aircraft have been used in the conflict for the first time.