The No. 2 Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Omar was captured in Karachi, where many Pakistani militants have been reported to be hiding. Police say there are 150 Taliban fighters in the city now.
The arrest of a senior Afghan Taliban commander in Karachi, made last week and revealed Tuesday, adds to growing reports that militants are using the Pakistani city as an organizational hub and safe haven.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the second in command to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, was apprehended in a joint raid by Pakistani and American intelligence agencies, though a Taliban spokesman denied this.
In recent months, local and international media have reported that Taliban commanders fleeing military operations in Afghanistan and in Pakistani tribal areas have relocated to Karachi, which is the country’s largest city and has largely avoided the bomb attacks that have struck the northwest and other major cities.
Karachi also has a large population of Pashtuns, the ethnic group to which most members of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban belong. Though the city’s ruling party takes a tough line against the Taliban, militants are able to conceal their activities within the city’s sprawling slums.