Taliban using 'organized crime' in Karachi to fund their 'terror business': NYT

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New York, Aug.29 (ANI): Taliban insurgents have resorted to 'organized crime' to generate funds for their militant activities being carried out in the lawless northwestern Pakistan, and the banned outfit has made Karachi their hub for the new 'business'.

The Taliban is using Karachi, Pakistan's financial capital, to regroup, smuggle weapons and even work seasonal jobs, but of late the extremists have started working with criminal groups and are using Mafia-style network for kidnapping, robbing banks to generate funds for their counterparts based along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Officials also admit that being the country's financial nerve, Karachi has emerged a soft and favoured target of Taliban's new business.

"There is overwhelming evidence that it's an organized policy," said Assistant Inspector General of the Karachi police, Dost Ali Baloch.

This is where they come to hide, where they raise their finances," said a Karachi based counterterrorism official, on conditions of anonymity.

Taliban's increasing involvement in organized crimes in the city can be gauged from the fact that about eighty percent of bank robberies conducted in the recent past are now believed to be related to the insurgency and other militant groups, The News York Times reports.

Officials believe that kidnapping for ransom may have been the single largest revenue source for the Taliban's Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike earlier this month.

Karachi's business community is the prime target of the insurgents.

"They're real professionals. They know for sure that whoever they take can afford to pay," said said Ahmed Chinoy, a textile manufacturer who is the deputy head of a citizens committee.

People are so perturbed and frightened by the deteriorating situation that they have started to take matters into their own hands, but they believe such steps are inadequate and the authorities must step-in.

"If we give, we're in trouble, and if we don't give, we're in trouble. We're being ground down in between," said Abzal Khan Mehsud, a member of the Oil Tanker Owners Association.

"The worse the economy is, the more jihadis it will create.This is a money war," said Idrees Gigi, a textile manufacturer in North Karachi. (ANI)

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