The Guardian reports that Islamist groups, including at least one illegal organization linked to the Mumbai terror attacks, are going to the aid of Pakistan’s flood victims while the government scrambles to cope with the disaster.
The U.N. estimates that the floods now affect some 3 million people, with 1,500 killed so far.
The busy roadside aid station for flood victims seemed ordinary enough. Huge pots were lined up to distribute cooked food to the hungry. An ambulance, now no longer needed to ferry the injured, was being loaded up with bundles of second-hand clothing to be given away. But rather than being run by a humanitarian agency or government officials, the aid station on the outskirts of Charsadda, a town in the north-west that has seen some of the worst flooding in Pakistan, was set up by a group alleged to be international terrorists.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a hardline Islamist organisation thought to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the 2008 assault on Mumbai, said it had 2,000 members working for flood relief across the north-west of the country and down into Punjab province.
With the government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, the worst flooding in Pakistan in at least 80 years, a gap has opened up for well-organised Islamic groups, mainstream and extremist.