As if live wasn’t hard enough on the Hindu Kush, innocent villagers are being accused as spies and murdered by a Pakistani death squad known as the Khorasan Mujahedin:
Pulling up in caravans of Toyota Corolla hatchbacks, dozens of them seal off mud-hut villages near the border with Afghanistan, then scour markets and homes in search of tribesmen they suspect of helping to identify targets for the armed U.S. drones that routinely buzz overhead.
Once they’ve snatched their suspect, they don’t speed off, villagers say. Instead, the caravan leaves slowly, a trademark gesture meant to convey that they expect no retaliation.
Militant groups lack the ability to bring down the drones, which have killed senior Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders as well as many foot soldiers. Instead, a number of them have banded together to form Khorasan Mujahedin in the North Waziristan tribal region to hunt for those who sell information about the location of militants and their safe houses.
Pakistani officials and tribal elders maintain that most of those who are abducted this way are innocent, but after being beaten, burned with irons or scalded with boiling water, almost all eventually “confess.” And few ever come back…
“In the sky there are drones, and on the ground there’s Khorasan Mujahedin,” said the relative. “Villagers are extremely terrorized. Whenever there’s a drone strike, within 24 hours Khorasan Mujahedin comes in and takes people away.”
Caravans of Toyota Corolla hatchbacks circling villages after a drone strike and then slowly driving away.
Seems like a predictable pattern, and a lucrative target, to me: Kills bad guys and protects innocents.