Problems remain for Swat people as Taliban turn common criminals

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Islamabad, Sep.24 (ANI): Problems for people in Swat and Malakand Divisions are far from over as the crime rate in the valley has witnessed a sudden rise in the recent past.

With the incidents of kidnapping for ransom increasing, local residents say it is the remnant Taliban fighters who have taken to the petty crimes in order to survive.

"Mysterious increase in incidents of kidnapping for ransom especially in Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar, Nowshera, Swabi, Chitral and Haripur districts on varying scales suggests that remnants of Taliban in Swat and Malakand have adopted this to make easy money," local residents said.

People say such gangs criminal groups cropped up after the Pakistan Army's operation forced the Taliban to retreat.

"The kind of tactics being employed by these criminal gangs are akin to those introduced by the notorious Taliban group headed by the assassinated commander Baitullah Mehsud," The Nation quoted Arif Khan, a resident of Mardan, as saying.

Incidents of kidnapping for ransom and other crimes in the provincial capital, Peshawar, have also increased manifold over the past few months.

"There is a significant sense of insecurity among the affluent families in Peshawar city and a fear of kidnapping for ransom after serious incidents had taken place in the metropolis in the past few months," a Peshawar based businessman said. (ANI)

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