Pakistani officials tell ABC News a new terrorist plan to attack the United States and Europe is being organized by a shadowy Pakistani, who is the keeper of the log of recruits who attended al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s.
Pakistani police and military officials identify the man as Matiur Rehman, whose role as al Qaeda’s planning director was first revealed by ABCNews.com earlier this year.
U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News Rehman is now the “leading suspect” in the attack earlier this year on the U.S. consulate in Karachi that killed a State Department Foreign Service officer, David Foy. Officials say the car bomb attack was planned by Rehman.
The officials say Rehman was spotted within the last month in the slums of North Karachi but escaped capture. The Pakistani government has posted a reward of 10 million rupees for the capture of Rehman, who also uses the aliases “Akeel Khan” and “Sadamd Sial.”
U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News there has been great concern since last March about a “Pakistani” network that could attempt multiple international attacks.
Rehman, along with his deputy, another Pakistani named Qari Hassan, are believed to be keepers of the “Directory of Jihad,” which officials say contains “thousands of names” of young militants who trained at al Qaeda camps and have since dispersed around the world.
U.S. law enforcement officials confirm al Qaeda kept extensive recruitment records, many of which were recovered after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Rehman, now in his mid-30s, worked as an explosives instructor in the al Qaeda camps, according to Pakistani officials, who say he has been deeply involved in most of the major terror attacks in Pakistan in the last few years.
Officials say they disrupted yet another Rehman plot last month to assassinate Pakistani President Musharaff at a summer festival.
Pakistan intelligence officials tell ABC News that Rehman moves between between Karachi, Waziristan and South Punjab, where he was born. He is in “constant communication” with al Qaeda’s top leaders, according to the officials.
A former militant of the Pakistani terrorist groups Harakat ul Jihad ul Islami and Lashkar e Jhangvi, Rehman rose to prominence in the late 1990s by setting up elaborate networks in Pakistan through which he recruited young men to be trained in al Qaeda’s camps.
Pakistani intelligence officials tell ABC News that between 10,000 and 50,000 militants received basic training in these camps, where the best recruits were directly “hired” by al Qaeda. The rest was used by Pakistan’s most violent terrorist groups such as Lashkar e Jhangvi, Harakat ul
Mujahideen and Jaish e Muhammad, either to fight in Kashmir or India, or conduct sectarian attacks within Pakistan.
U.S. officials say there is no information that any attack on the United States is imminent.