Detained Americans say they came to take part in “jihad”
Five Americans arrested in Sargodha have told investigators they came to the country to take part in “jihad”, police said on Thursday.
“These young Americans are in our custody,” said Sargodha police Chief Javed Islam.
“They are telling us that they came to Pakistan for jihad.”
He said investigators were trying to determine whether the men had established any contacts with militant groups.
Three of the arrested Americans are of Pakistani descent, one is of Egyptian descent and the other has Yemeni heritage, police officer Tahir Gujjar said.
US officials believe the five are men who were reported missing more than a week ago by their families in the Washington, DC, area.
The families asked the FBI for help after finding a farewell video left by the men showing scenes of war and casualties and saying Muslims must be defended.
The men, aged 19 to 25, were arrested on Wednesday at a house in Sargodha city linked to the banned militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed, officers said.
Two other police officials said on Thursday the men were co-operating with investigators after first giving conflicting statements. Investigators seized a laptop computer along with extremist literature from the house.
The house was believed to have been used by the banned militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, the officers said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Meanwhile A police source in Sargodha told CBS news that a team of American agents, who traveled from Lahore, spoke with the five young men, examined their passports and other identification documents and confiscated some personal belongings.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad would not confirm that a meeting had taken place between any American agents and the five men in Pakistani custody.
S.M. Imran Gardezi, press minister at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said the men “are under arrest in Pakistan. The investigation is to see whether they had any links to any extremist groups.” No charges have been filed.