4 years, 10 months ago
We have discussed the Talibanization of Karachi, and while the alleged number of Taliban in Karachi (400,000) is probably exaggerated, there is no doubt that extremism has taken root in Karachi. It was the launch point for the Mumbai attacks, and as we have also discussed before, the port city through which all NATO supplies into Afghanistan through Pakistan flow. Recently the police and Taliban fighters had a shootout in Karachi in which numerous police casualties occurred.
Pakistani police have arrested more than a dozen Islamist militants in the southern city of Karachi after a gun battle following a pre-dawn raid on their hideout, officials said.
Two policemen were killed and nine wounded before the militants’ resistance was broken after several hours of shooting.
The raid came as tension is running high between Pakistan and India in the wake of a militant attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in November, and there is pressure from the international community for Pakistan to crack down harder on jihadi groups.
A senior police official who declined to be identified said the detained men had links with Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, who is based in lawless ethnic Pashtun lands on the Afghan border …
“We were getting reports for a long time that some jihadi elements were active in this area. Today, we raided the area and arrested many of them,” Ahmed said.
One Pakistani official also said (coincidentally before this shootout) that “The Taliban won’t cause real trouble in Karachi because it’s their funding point – they get their infrastructure here, the money, the SIM chips, the mobile phones.” Perhaps this official should re-evaluate his position on whether the Taliban wish to cause “real” trouble. Funding point or not, the Taliban will be able to focus their activities on the implementation of Islamic writ and anti-American activities – including the closing of the port city to NATO supplies – with enough fighters.
Finally, it isn’t clear whether the police believe their propaganda or not, but one thing is certain. In arresting approximately a dozen Taliban, the Karachi police haven’t yet seen the tip of the iceberg, much less arrested many of the Taliban.