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Taliban consider Karachi the safest place to hide

December 01, 2009 12:38 IST

Karachi is considered the safest place by the Taliban to hide in Pakistan. According to a Newsweek report, the Taliban is hardly worried by US' plans to send in more troops to Afghanistan, and believes that as far as they do not foment terror, they can live safely in the city.

"So well entrenched and widespread in southern, eastern, western, and even northern Afghanistan, that the increased US troop numbers will not pose a serious threat," the report quoted senior Taliban commanders, as saying.The report said top Taliban commanders were slowly shifting their base from Quetta to Karachi, and added that more senior Taliban leaders were operating from Karachi these days than from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

"Taliban leadership, allegedly in hiding in Balochistan, is steadily migrating from across Pakistan to the financial capital Karachi, where, well out of America's reach, they can operate more freely," it said. However, Taliban leaders were concerned about the safety of their top leaders, including Mullah Omar, whose family is said to be living in Karachi since 2003.

Quoting a top Afghan Taliban leader, Zabihullah, the report said that since a large population in Karachi were Pashtuns, the extremists would not have any trouble establishing their base in the country's financial capital.

"And like other ethnic groups in the metropolis, many Pashtuns are focused almost entirely on the business of making money. Most would have no concern about a Taliban safe house operating next door. Some Taliban operatives and sympathisers even run legitimate and lucrative businesses, from construction to commerce and transportation," Zabihullah said. "Karachi is the safest place for us. We want to keep it that way," he added.

Source: ANI