American held in Pakistan
‘MISSION TO KILL OSAMA’
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Peshawar, June 15: An American national, who claimed to be on a mission to hunt down the world’s most wanted man Osama bin Laden was arrested from Chitral near the Afghan border, armed with a pistol and a 40-inch sword.
The 50-year-old Gray Faulkner, a Californian was picked up by the police from Shekhanandeh village, in Chitral district as he was about to cross the border into Nuristan, in Afghanistan, police official Ayub Rehmat Salahuddin said.
According to US intelligence reports bin Laden along with his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri is reported to be hiding in caves in Chitral or Nuristan.
Police initially took his claim of being on a mission to hunt down bin Laden as a joke, but later shifted him to Peshawar for detailed questioning.
Police said Faulkner was visiting the Chitral region as a tourist and was staying at a hotel at Bumborate in Kalash valley.The American national entered the region on June 12 and disappeared from his hotel the next day.
Police launched a search for him and sealed areas bordering Afghanistan and later arrested him.
He told police that he had visited Pakistan seven times and this was his third trip to Chitral.
District police chief Muhammad Jaffar Khan said the American was arrested on suspicion and would be deported after his case is decided by the competent authority.
This is first time that an American citizen has been arrested in the Chitral region, officials said. The American was also found to be carrying night vision goggles and Christian literature.
Faulkner was airlifted from Chitral to Peshawar today under tight security, officials said.
An intelligence official said when the police team approached Faulkner, he said: “Don’t come close to me or else I will kill you.”
During preliminary questioning, Faulkner told police he was going to Nuristan on a “mission to decapitate Osama bin Laden” and four accomplices who posed a threat to the US, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Faulkner also said he was hunting bin Laden because he suffered “personal losses” in the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
US embassy spokesman Rick Snelsire said the American consulate in Peshawar had been informed about the arrest of a US citizen. The embassy was seeking access to the detained American, he said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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