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Foreign Taliban men leaving Pakistan

Pursued by US drones and nervous about shrinking funds, foreign Taliban terrorists are leaving Pakistan for Syria and other areas, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

world Updated: Sep 06, 2012 00:03 IST
HT Correspondent

Pursued by US drones and nervous about shrinking funds, foreign Taliban terrorists are leaving Pakistan for Syria and other areas, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The paper said a security official in Islamabad had confirmed claims by insurgent and tribal sources that around 250 militants, mostly Arabs, had left in the past few months alone. It said the ISI spy agency was aware of the development but had no idea where the insurgents were headed.

“Those with legal travel documents are leaving via Peshawar, while the rest are travelling by the mountainous border areas, crossing the Baluchistan desert and either into Iran by land, or across the Gulf by sea,” the paper reported.

It said most of the Arabs were allied to the Naquin network, which is estimated to have around 2,000 fighters, and quoted a militant commander from North Waziristan as saying they were “going to help our brothers in Arab countries.”

A Pakistani militant said, “They used to buy a lot of fruit and meat, but over the last year or so they have been living hand to mouth. I think they have been facing problems to get financial support from Arab countries.”

The report follows claims by a British and a Dutch photographer that a gang of terrorists in Syria from whose clutches they escaped in July included many foreigners. “They were from anywhere but Syria,” Briton John Cantile said.