Hay miles de civiles atrapados en el noroeste del país. Helicópteros y aviones del ejército bombardearon hoy posiciones talibanes como parte de una ofensiva aplaudida por Estados Unidos. Washington considera a esa milicia la mayor amenaza extremista para Occidente.

Helicópteros y aviones del ejército de Pakistán bombardearon hoy posiciones talibanes como parte de una ofensiva en el noroeste del país aplaudida por Estados Unidos, en medio de advertencias de una creciente crisis humanitaria por los miles de civiles atrapados en la zona.

Residentes del valle de Swat dijeron sufrir las consecuencias tanto de los bombardeos del ejército como de los talibanes, a los que acusaron de matar a los lugareños que quieren escapar o de impedir su huida bloqueando rutas y caminos con árboles y rocas.

Pakistán está bajo intensa presión de Estados Unidos para aplastar a los talibanes y sus aliados de Al Qaeda, a los que Washington considera la mayor amenaza extremista para Occidente, y el presidente Barack Obama ha dicho que el país musulmán dueño de armas nucleares está en el centro de esa lucha global.

Obama recibió ayer en Washington al presidente de Pakistán, Asif Ali Zardari, y a su par afgano, Hamid Karzai, para cimentar una nueva estrategia para derrotar a los extremistas en la región.

Estados Unidos tiene tropas en Afganistán que pelean con los talibanes, que a su vez reciben refuerzos desde Pakistán.

El gobierno paquistaní dijo estar preparado para un gran éxodo del valle de Swat, un ex destino turístico donde los combates se reanudaron tras colapsar, esta semana, un polémico acuerdo de paz que rigió durante tres meses y que buscaba poner fin a dos años de rebelión encabezada por los talibanes.

El ejército dijo haber matado ayer a más de 80 rebeldes en la región, aunque nadie dio aún cifras de víctimas civiles.

Más de 500.000 personas desplazadas por la violencia de otras zonas del noroeste ya viven en campamentos de refugiados, lo que agrega una creciente crisis humanitaria a los problemas políticos, económicos y de seguridad que enfrenta Pakistán.

«Los civiles están sufriendo por acción tanto del ejército como de los talibanes. Los talibanes están matando a residentes que no se ponen de su lado», dijo el dueño de un comercio en la zona de guerra, quien se identificó sólo como Jamal.

El ejército anunció una flexibilización de un toque de queda, pero civiles que quisieron escapar dijeron haber sido impedidos por los insurgentes.

Un hombre de 39 años oriundo del área de Kanju, en Swat, dijo que hoy cargó a su familia en su auto para huir, pero que la ruta estaba cortada por piedras y troncos de árbol.

«Me siento impotente, frustrado y preocupado por mi familia», dijo este hombre, Ayaz Khan, citado por la cadena CNN.

El Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR) advirtió hoy sobre una escalada de la crisis humanitaria en la región.

«La crisis humanitaria en la Provincia Frontera del Noroeste se está intensificando», dijo el CICR, que añadió no tener ya acceso a la zona de guerra.

«El CICR y la Sociedad de la Media Luna Roja de Pakistán están reuniendo sus recursos para ser capaces de proveer comida y elementos básicos de ayuda a 120.000 personas desplazas internas por los enfrentamientos», agregó la Cruz Roja en un comunicado.


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