Pakistan detains 4 linked to al-Qaida

FBI agents take part in arrest of Afghans

October 16, 2002|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistani police, accompanied by FBI agents, arrested four Afghan men suspected of ties to al-Qaida in a refugee camp near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said yesterday.

A Pakistani investigator said one of the men, Abdur Rehman, was of particular interest to U.S. investigators, but he declined to say why.

The raid took place early yesterday in the Jalozai refugee camp, about 25 miles east of Peshawar, officials said.

Two passports, one from Afghanistan and one from Saudi Arabia, were found with the four Afghans, along with a computer, compact discs and a mobile phone.

A Pakistani police official said that the operation had been carried out over several days and that Pakistani intelligence officials were questioning the four men.

In an unrelated interview last night in the capital, Islamabad, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a senior leader in the coalition of hard-line religious parties that gained broad support in elections last week, reiterated the parties' call for the expulsion of all U.S. soldiers and FBI agents from Pakistan.

Next month, the coalition is expected to take control of the provincial government in the area where the arrests took place, the Northwest Frontier Province.

Running on an anti-American platform, the coalition of parties swept the area in the elections and won 20 percent of the seats in the National Assembly.

While other coalition leaders have softened their stand since the election, Rehman did not back away last night from their campaign call for the ouster of Americans.

"We think that we can take care of the internal law-and-order situation ourselves," Rehman said, promising that the area would not be used as a base for terrorism.

"Our national integrity and sovereignty should be of prime importance," he said.

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