Taliban’s rise in Karachi must be stopped

Rafia Zakaria in Al Jazeera:

Src.adapt.960.high.1391482153122There have been more than 80 terrorism-related deaths and about 46 reported injuries in 2014 in Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous metropolis. Most of the incidents tallied multiple fatalities and injuries, including police. In some cases, unidentified assailants ambushed busy intersections or desolate roads, leaving unrecognized after wreaking havoc. In other instances, bodies of victims were found abandoned in ditches. Some of the victims were killed en route to work in their cars by drive-by shooters. Others were attacked leaving mosques, and one victim was killed while selling peanuts on the streets.

The escalation in attacks reflects a significant strategic victory for the Pakistani Taliban. Their ability to target important officials and use attacks to terrorize a megacity shows their expansion and strength. The government, on the other hand, seems powerless to halt the mayhem or to provide the resources it needs to fight the Taliban in an urban battlefield. In a sign of their relative strengths, the Taliban announced on Saturday a five-member committee to pursue talks with the government but did not offer to halt the attacks as a condition. If the Taliban’s rise is to be contained, Pakistan needs to take urgent measures to stabilize Karachi.

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