Peshawar: An American national, who
claimed to be on a mission to hunt down the world`s most
wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden was arrested from Chitral
near the Afghan border, armed with a pistol and a 40-inch
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
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.