A ring of female Islamic State supporters has been caught raising money for ISIS in Pakistan’s coastal city of Karachi.
The operation is fairly simple: Local women collect the money under the guise of charity, which they then hand over to male counterparts who give it to a middle man for ISIS, reports Pakistan’s Express Tribune.
The operation is similar to something seen during the peak years of American mob activity. The Pakistani women would use the Faith Academy School in Karachi as a front for their operations, posing as a sort of Parent Teacher Association. They would target fellow women from the well-off families in the Pakistani port town. Donations came from what are called “darkhwasts,” or requests for donations for the school, which in reality went to ISIS operations.
The group used code during its operations: “We’re making a request to you,” ask the women. The reply comes after the money is given to the middle man: “Please return the keepsake.”
“After collecting the money, they used to hand it over to the male wing of the outfit,” says a Pakistani Counter Terrorism Department official to Express Tribune, “then Adil Butt, the recently-arrested CEO of the College of Accounting and Management Sciences (CAMS) used to hand over the funds to a person, identified as Omar, alias Jalal Chandio, who used the code word ‘Amanat de do.’”
According to officials, the group of about one dozen women also arranged marriages for ISIS militants. In addition, the group is suspected of being involved with the Safoora bus attack which took place in May of this year in a Karachi neighborhood, killing 45.
Though women who live under the ISIS shadow often suffer unspeakable abuses, female supporters are a key component. Aside from marrying fighters and raising funds, women in ISIS-held towns are known to act as a sort of religious police force, enforcing the group’s strict rules and forcing young girls to marry foreign militants.
Though technically a U.S. ally, Pakistan has internal issues when combating terrorism, particularly in the western frontier region known as the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), a known hotbed of radical Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden was found to be living just outside of Abottabad, the home of Pakistan’s military academy, before being killed in a raid in 2011.
Some arrests have been made against the ISIS support ring, however authorities in Pakistan are continuing to root out other suspected supporters within other schools in the Karachi area.
This report, by Russ Read, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.