Cover Story Overview

The Pakistani Taliban’s Karachi Network
By Zia Ur Rehman

In the run-up to Pakistan’s general elections in May 2013, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants displayed their might in the country’s largest city of Karachi. Far from their traditional home in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, TTP militants have increasingly moved to this bustling commercial hub to escape Pakistani military operations and U.S. drone strikes. Although the TTP’s movement to Karachi has been visible since at least 2009, the group began to escalate violent activities in June 2012, threatening to destabilize one of Pakistan’s preeminent cities—home to the country’s central bank and stock exchange. This article identifies the various TTP factions operating in the city, explains how the TTP uses extortion to raise funds in Karachi, shows how the group is targeting secular political parties and law enforcement, and then reveals the implications of these developments. It finds that the TTP has increased its influence in Karachi and is escalating violent activities—a trend that could negatively impact Karachi’s economy and put the city’s security at risk.

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