Voice of America News
15 June 2010
Police in northern Pakistan say they have arrested an American who said he was on a solo mission to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Authorities say they found the man armed with a handgun, a sword, a dagger and night vision equipment in the Chitral region near the Afghan border. Police say the man was trying to cross into Afghanistan’s Nuristan region because he told them that bin Laden was hiding there.
Authorities in Chitral have identified the man as Gary Faulkner, a construction worker from California.
They say he arrived in Chitral on June 3 and was staying at a local hotel. Officials there had assigned him a security guard, a step that is quite common for foreigners in remote parts of Pakistan. Pakistani authorities began searching for Faulkner after the guard noticed that he had disappeared.
Afghanistan’s Nuristan region and Pakistan’s Chitral region are among several rumored hiding spots for the al-Qaida leader. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts have remained a mystery since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
A U.S. embassy spokesman says Pakistani authorities have informed American officials of the arrest of a U.S. citizen.
California construction worker arrested in Pakistan allegedly on mission to kill Osama bin Laden
American armed with a pistol, night-vision equipment, a book of Christian verses and a 40-inch sword
Munir Ahmed, Riaz Khan
Peshawar, Pakistan — The Associated Press
Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2010
An American armed with a pistol and a 40-inch sword was detained in northern Pakistan and told investigators he was on a solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden, a police officer said Tuesday.
The man was identified as 52-year-old Californian construction worker Gary Brooks Faulkner, said officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan.
He was picked up in a forest in the Chitral region late on Sunday, he said.
“We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden,” said Mr. Khan. But he said when officers seized the pistol, the sword and night-vision equipment, “our suspicion grew.”
He was questioned Tuesday by intelligence officials in Peshawar, the main northwestern city.
Mr. Faulkner told police he visited Pakistan seven times, and this was his third trip to Chitral.
Police alleged the American intended to travel to the eastern Afghan region of Nuristan, just across the border from Chitral.
The area is among several rumoured hiding places for the al-Qaeda leader, who has evaded a massive U.S. effort to capture him since 2001. Bin Laden is accused of being behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, as well other terrorist acts.
Mr. Khan said Mr. Faulkner was also carrying a book containing Christian verses and teachings.
When asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Mr. Faulkner replied, “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him,” said Mr. Khan.
Mr. Faulkner arrived in the Chitrali town of Bumburate on June 3 and stayed in a hotel there.
He was assigned a police guard, as is quite common for foreigners visiting remote parts of Pakistan. When he checked out without informing police, officers began hunting for him, said Mr. Khan.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the mission had received notification from Pakistani officials that an American citizen had been arrested. He said embassy officials were trying to meet the man and confirm his identity.