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Taliban increasingly taking shelter in Karachi: report

The Pakistani port city of Karachi is increasingly becoming a safe haven for Taliban and other extremist elements in the country, an article in a US magazine said.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2010 09:13 IST

The Pakistani port city of Karachi is increasingly becoming a safe haven for Taliban and other extremist elements in the country, an article in a US magazine said.

"It is clear that fighters from multiple Taliban factions are increasingly moving to the city," said the article in the latest issue of CTC Sentinel of the Combating Terrorism Centre of the US Military Academy.

"Militants continue to flee US drone strikes and Pakistani military operations in the country's northwest tribal regions. In fact, two months ago news reports speculated that Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar himself shifted his base from Quetta to Karachi," wrote Imtiaz Ali, author of the article.

Between late October and early November last year, Karachi police arrested over 450 illegal foreign residents, mostly Afghan and Uzbek citizens suspected of having links with militants.

Moreover, 70 militants with access to suicide jackets, rocket launchers and other explosives were arrested in the closing months of 2009, it said.

"Taliban fighters and other militant groups have long considered Karachi a safe location because it is unlikely the city would ever face a major military operation or drone attacks. Such a development could cause huge political and economic fallout and the ultimate destabilisation of Pakistan," Ali wrote.