Gunman hunting Bin Laden is held in Pakistan

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The Independent Online

Police in northern Pakistan said today that they had detained an American armed with a pistol who claimed to have been on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan said the man was picked up in a forest in Chitral.

He said the 52-year-old, from California, was armed with a pistol, a dagger and a sword and was carrying night vision equipment.

The man, identified as Gary Faulkner, was being questioned by intelligence officers today.

The construction worker was picked up in a forest in the Chitral region late on Sunday, said Mr Khan.

"We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden," he said. But he added that, when officers seized the pistol, the 40in (102cm) sword and night vision equipment, "our suspicion grew".

Faulkner was being questioned in Peshawar, the main north-western city.

He told police he had visited Pakistan seven times, and this was his third trip to Chitral.

Chitral is a remote, mountainous region close to the Afghan border. It is one of several rumoured hiding places for the al-Qa'ida leader.