"PESHAWAR, Pakistan — When torrential monsoon rains flooded Pakistan, sparking the country's worst-ever humanitarian crisis, hardline Islamic charities moved fast. Faster than the government.
Banned in Pakistan and on a UN terror list, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) is one of a number of Islamic organisations that have been highly visible in the battle to help provide relief to millions of survivors.
Filling a void created by the perceived failure of the civilian government to mobilise, fears are growing in the United States that such charities are using soft power to propagate extremism in the nuclear-armed state.
Pakistan's Taliban have now urged the government to reject American aid in favour of 20 million dollars of Taliban aid. There was no indication that the militia can or will pay, but the battle for hearts and minds has been drawn.
"We are providing food, clothes, medicines, tents, utensils, 5,000 rupees (60 dollars) cash to each family," said Atique Chohan, spokesman for JuD in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the Taliban are active."
Sajjad Tarakzai reports for AFP August 11, 2010.
"Suspected Terrorists Help To Fill Gap in Aid for Pakistani Flood Victims" (Sydney Morning Herald)
"Group Linked To Terrorists Provides Pakistan Flood Aid" (McClatchy)
"U.S. Builds Goodwill With Quick Assistance in Pakistani Flooding" (Washington Post)
"Taliban Tells Pakistan To Reject Western Flood Aid" (UK Daily Mail)
"Pakistan Floods: an Emergency for the West" (UK Telegraph)
"Outrage at Absent Leader Swells Amid Pakistan Flood Disaster" (Toronto Star)