Briton held in Afghan jail returns to police questioning

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A young man held captive in Afghanistan for almost four years was stopped under anti-terrorism legislation when he returned to Britain yesterday.

Family and friends were waiting at Manchester airport to greet Anwar Khan, who they claim was captured by the Northern Alliance in 1998 and detained as a suspected Taliban fighter. The 25-year-old from Burnley, Lancashire, had gone to Pakistan to try to overcome his heroin addiction.

Mr Khan was stopped shortly after his plane landed and questioned by police under the Terrorism Act 2000 for three hours before being released without charge.

Shahid Malik, a Khan family friend, said: "Today has been much tougher than it should have been and emotions have been up and down. But all's well that ends well."

He added: "His family are absolutely elated – his mother especially. She saw many of the horrific scenes on television and was completely hysterical."

A spokesman for Scotland Yard confirmed that Mr Khan had been released. "At no point was he arrested. He's just been spoken to and allowed to go," he said.

Mr Malik said the family was anxious to stress that Mr Khan had been arrested in 1998 before the war in Afghanistan, and added that he had no connection with al-Qa'ida.