Islamabad, Aug 31(ANI): Taliban militants are reportedly trying to take advantage of the large-scale misery caused by the devastating floods in Pakistan by attempting to enlist 50,000 new fighters.
According to reports, thousands of insurgents are in flood-affected regions to carry out relief efforts.
In return for their humanitarian deed, the terrorists demand the men to promise that they would join the fight against the West.
"They see the disaster as a perfect chance to launch their biggest recruiting drive in a decade," The Sun quoted an intelligence official, as saying.
"This is disastrous for Pakistan and the war against terrorism," the official added.
Pakistan Army official Mohammed Anwar added that Taliban has been using the disaster, which has claimed the lives of over 1600 people and affected over 20 million people, to "gather strength and regroup" after last year's bloody battles.
"We are stretched to the limits. The government has pulled thousands of soldiers away from Swat to help in relief across Pakistan," Anwar said.
"So, the Taliban have returned with bags of money. It was a war we were winning - and because of the flood we are losing it again," he added.
It is reported that members of the Al-Qaeda supporting Al-Rehmat Trust and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) are behind the recruiting campaign.
Talking about the efforts being carried out by the militants, Abdul Jabbar, a flood victim, said: "The Taliban are bringing us rice. We are hungry. People here have simple lives and are easily influenced."
"They have short memories and don't remember the blood spilled when the Taliban were more active here," he added.
Another flood affected victim, Baqhat Khan said: "We do not want our young being groomed for suicide missions in return for food for their starving families."
Apart from the loss of lives, the unprecedented catastrophe has also destroyed crops, washed away bridges, roads, communication and energy networks, causing losses running into billions of dollars. (ANI)