Amid a sweeping crackdown on terrorism within Pakistan following the killing of 150 people at a school in Peshawar, police in Karachi arrested a valuable Afghan Taliban operative on Tuesday who is accused of executing a mysterious attack on NATO troops in the region.
Noman Siddiqui, the senior superintendent of Karachi police, identified the man to VICE News as a trained commando called Kabi, who also goes by the name Behram Khan. The police arrested him during a search operation in the Khawaja Ajmer Nagri area of the city, and reported that they had recovered various weapons and hand grenades from the scene.
An investigation team immediately began questioning Kabi.
"He has admitted his involvement in an attack on NATO forces, as well as in the looting of NATO containers," Siddiqui said. He said that he could not disclose details about the attack on NATO, but noted that Kabi had "confessed to the police investigation team that he was second in command of the Afghan Taliban military wing the Wadat Group," which is active in Paktia Province in the the east of Afghanistan, where assaults have persistently targeted NATO detachments and Afghan troops.
Pakistani authorities have arrested more than 19,000 people since the December attack in Peshawar.
The suspect told police that he had plundered a total of 10 NATO containers on different occasions along the area of Paktia Province that borders Pakistan, and that he had planted land mines in the territory as well. This work planting bombs is what apparently led to his visit to Karachi.
"Kabi was injured during a mine-spreading operation in Paktia and flew to Karachi via Quetta to get treatment from a private hospital in Karachi," Siddiqui said, though he declined to name the hospital.
He added that Kabi informed police that hundreds of Afghan Taliban militants are currently residing in various Pakistani cities, where they are working common jobs and blending in with civilians.
"We are searching for other fellows in different parts of the city," the police superintendent told VICE News, and acknowledged suspicion among the authorities that militants had entered the country posing as refugees. "No illegal Afghan refugees will be allowed to live and work in Karachi."
Under the National Action Plan to combat terrorism adopted by Pakistan following the Pakistani Taliban assault in Peshawar in December, the country's authorities have arrested more than 19,000 people.
A police report has been lodged against Kabi and will be produced at an upcoming hearing in a local court.
Follow Mohammad Zubair Khan on Twitter: @hazarazubair