Sabrina Tavernise in the New York Times:
KARACHI, Pakistan — Taliban fighters have long used this city of 17 million as a place to regroup, smuggle weapons and even work seasonal jobs. But recently they have discovered another way to make fast money: organized crime.
The police here say the Taliban, working with criminal groups, are using Mafia-style networks to kidnap, rob banks and extort, generating millions of dollars for the militant insurgency in northwestern Pakistan.
“There is overwhelming evidence that it’s an organized policy,” said Dost Ali Baloch, assistant inspector general of the Karachi police.
Jihadi-linked crime has surfaced in other Pakistani cities, like Lahore. But Karachi, the central nervous system of Pakistan’s economy, and home to its richest businessmen, is the hub. It has been free of the bombings that have tormented Pakistan’s other major cities this year, and some officials believe that is the result of a calculated strategy.
“This is where they come to hide, where they raise their finances,” said a counterterrorism official in Karachi. “They don’t want to disturb that.”