KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistani and American intelligence agents arrested a suspected Al Qaeda (search) operative early Thursday on a remote stretch of highway north of Karachi, officials said.
Haffan al-Hashim, a man of Middle Eastern origin, was arrested after FBI (search) agents detected that he made a satellite call to someone in an Arab country in recent days, a Pakistani intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
He was seized while traveling from Hyderabad to Karachi (search), 60 miles away on the Arabian Sea. Authorities had monitored traffic out of Hyderabad after they raided the building where the call was made but failed to find al-Hashim, the official said.
It wasn't clear how significant al-Hashim was in the Al Qaeda network. The official declined to give further details or say if the call was connected to bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed more than 30 people, including several Americans, earlier this week. Saudi officials have suggested Al Qaeda was behind that attack.
Agents who arrested al-Hashim found a satellite telephone, a laptop computer and six discs that contained information about other operatives, different intelligence officials said, also on condition of anonymity.
The arrest came hours before Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri met Thursday at the White House with Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleeza Rice and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
The administration officials praised Pakistan's cooperation in the war on terrorism, Kasuri told reporters afterward.
"We have done more on terrorism than anybody else could have done," he said.
"There was no request from anybody in the United States asking Pakistan to step up its efforts on terrorism. there was only understanding and praise," he said.
Many Al Qaeda leaders sought refuge in Pakistan after the 2001 U.S.-led war on terror next door in Afghanistan.