Pakistan holds American man hunting bin Laden

CHITRAL, Pakistan (Reuters) - An American man accused of trying to sneak into Afghanistan to hunt down and kill al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden has been detained by authorities in Pakistan, police said on Tuesday.

Gary Brooks Faulkner is pictured in these booking photos by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office in Port Collins, Colorado released to Reuters on June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Larimer County Sheriff's Office/Handout

Gary Faulkner was caught in the Brumboret Valley near the border of Afghanistan’s Nuristan province carrying a dagger, pistol and night vision goggles and was being questioned in Peshawar, Chitral police chief Jaffer Khan said.

“He was roaming in the security zone in a suspicious manner. He had a dagger and night vision goggles with him. He is being investigated,” Khan said.

An intelligence official in Chitral, who asked not to be identified, said when authorities approached Faulkner, he shouted: “Don’t come closer to me or I’ll open fire.”

A brother of the detained man told a news conference in Colorado that Gary Faulkner was in Pakistan legally and had been there six times on a “mission” to kill bin Laden.

“He’s not crazy, he’s not a psychopath and he’s not a sociopath,” Scott Faulkner said. “He’s a man on a mission and believes that God’s got his back.”

Mumtaz Ahmed, a senior police investigator, said Faulkner was hunting bin Laden because he suffered personal losses in the September 11 attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants in 2001.

Slideshow ( 2 images )


Scott Faulkner said his brother, who was born in California and has lived in Colorado since 1968, did not consider his mission a “religious jihad” but wanted to kill the al Qaeda leader because he considered him a bad person.

He said his brother, who works in construction, “loves adventure” and planned to collect reward money for killing bin Laden, which he would then use to help people in Central America.

“He’s a normal person,” Scott Faulkner said. “He has a job and he pays his bills. Having a sword in Pakistan is not against the law.”

Scott Faulkner said his brother had found the entrance to caves in which he believed bin Laden was hiding. Western governments say they think the al Qaeda head is holed up in the mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Faulkner arrived in Chitral on June 3 and was staying in a local hotel, Ahmed said. Khan said he had visited Chitral seven times previously.

“He says that he is a kidney patient. He was also carrying medicines for kidney and blood pressure treatment,” Ahmed said.

U.S. embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the Peshawar consulate had been informed of the arrest of a U.S. citizen and that the embassy was seeking access to the detained American.

Scott Faulkner said the embassy told him his brother was still being questioned by authorities in Pakistan.

The daily Dawn newspaper said Faulkner acknowledged to police he wanted to “decapitate Osama bin Laden.”