Qaeda shifting base to 'safe urban haven' Karachi from 'drone-hit' Pak-Afghan border

Islamabad, Aug.25 (ANI): With an aim to shield itself from the US drone led onslaught, the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are slowly shifting their base from Pakistan's rugged tribal regions to more urban areas like Karachi, with reports revealing that many members of the Afghan Taliban's Quetta Shura (union council) have shifted to safer locations in the financial capital.

The unmanned Predator drones play a central role in the Obama administration's strategy to target extremist leaders hiding in Pakistan's ungoverned tribal regions. The US, which sees the missile strikes as highly successful, killing several top militant leaders, has infact doubled the frequency of such attacks despite Pakistan's strong objections.

"Some 60 to 70 percent of the core al Qaeda leadership has been eliminated, dealing a serious blow to the network's capacity to launch any major attacks on the West," The Daily Times quoted a senior Pakistani intelligence official, as saying.

The Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other extremist organisations have been operating with near impunity from the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) since 2001, but following the damage done by the CIA operated drone attacks, they are on the move shifting their base to the heart of Pakistan, a former western intelligence official said,

"They are on the move, communicating via couriers and moving stealthily in small groups to urban areas," the official said.

"We understand that the Quetta shura is actually the 'Karachi shura' and is given safe houses by Pakistanis, but there's no doubt in DC that the Pakistanis will go after al Qaeda, common enemies you see," he added.

Interestingly, Jandullah, a faction of the banned Laskhkar-e-Jhangvi, is providing security to Al Qaeda operatives in the city, the paper reported. (ANI)

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