Pakistan Liberates Taliban 'No-Go Zones' in Karachi

Published: 14th September 2015 11:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2015 11:20 PM   |  A+A-


KARACHI: With a machine-gun in the back seat, his foot on the accelerator and wearing 'Top Gun' style sunglasses, Azfar Mahesar pushes deeper into the heart of one of Karachi's "Talibanised" areas.

"This used to be a war zone, but we have liberated it," says the slightly chubby policeman with pride as his vehicle races through the Pakistani city of 20 million, where Afghan intelligence says former Taliban leader Mullah Omar made his home in 2013.

Over the past few years, one word has been on everyone's lips here: "Talibanisation".

If the remote mountains that straddle the Pakistan and Afghanistan border have been the militant group's playground, Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub on the Arabian Sea, has been the insurgents' hideout and cash-cow.

The Taliban dug deep into areas populated by ethnic Pashtuns, creating virtual "no-go zones" and terrorising the local population with extortion and kidnappings for ransom to provide funding for their Mujahideen.

But, say Pakistani officials, that has all changed now.

"Talibanisation in Karachi has died down," says Mahesar, a former soldier turned senior police officer in the most dangerous, western part of the city.

"I can say very confidently 70 to 80 percent (are purged). There are a few remnants in Karachi but they are not as capable of coming back with the efficiency that they had a year or so ago," he adds.

Today, policemen wearing flak jackets are advancing deep into the bowels of one of the remaining "no-go zones", through dug-up streets and up rocky hills that mark the city's western edge.

"This was a local Taliban HQ," one says as he stands before a pulverised hovel.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban) has been this country's public enemy number one since its formation in 2007.

Last December, the group carried out its deadliest attack ever, on a school in northwestern Peshawar, killing more than 150 people, mainly children.

The TTP called it revenge for a military operation being carried out in North Waziristan, the epicentre of their jihadist movement and a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda fighters along the Afghan border.

In response, the government gave the police and paramilitaries permission to lay siege to Talibanised areas, killing hundreds of suspected insurgents, without worrying much about due process.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp