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A flood survivor carrying relief goods walks past toppled vehicles in Muzaffargarh district, Punjab province, Pakistan

Send aid before Taliban step in, says Pakistan

As Pakistan struggles to cope with the escalating crisis, fears that the Taliban will exploit the crisis grow.

RAIN CONTINUES TO FALL across Pakistan, and fears are growing that without sufficient help from the international community the Taliban will take advantage of the worsening crisis.

North-western Pakistan is one the areas most severely hit by the flooding – it is also a stronghold for Taliban militants.

The UN has said that it estimates 1,600 people have died in the floods. Pakistan has confirmed 1,243 deaths.

The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has said that the militants like the Taliban will step in to exploit the chaos and suffering of Pakistanis who have been affected by the disaster.

The Pakistani authorities are already struggling to cope. The Pakistani military are trying to address the needs of the 20 million people affected by the flooding, while fighting groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban who are mounting attacks in an attempt to take advantage of the situation.

American government spokesperson, Anthony Cordesman, said the floods are “a major opportunity” for Islamist groups wanting  garner favour with people who cannot access help.

The Pakistani Taliban have already called on the government to refuse foreign aid.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Azam Tariq, said:

We condemn American and other foreign aid and believe that it will lead to subjugation. Our jihad against America will continue.

During a press conference, president Zardari said:

All these catastrophes give strength to forces who do not want a state structure. There is a possibility that the negative forces would exploit the situation. Like they would take the babies who have been made orphans and take them to their camps and train them as the terrorists of tomorrow.

Some of the amounts pledged for Pakistan emergency aid:

Asian Development Bank €1.57bn

World Bank €700m

US €118m

UK €79m

Ireland €2m