Wire: 5 Americans Nabbed in Pakistan Linked to al-Qaida
Off the Wire:
The men used Facebook and YouTube to connect with extremist groups in Pakistan.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2009 -- Newswire services this afternoon reported that five American Muslims arrested in Pakistan met with representatives of an al-Qaida linked group, a Pakistani law enforcement official said Thursday.
The Associated Press said U.S. officials in Pakistan have now visited the men in custody, after their disappearance late last month prompted a search and an investigation by counterterrorism officials.
"We have had access to the five detainees," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters Thursday at an unrelated news conference. She called the move "part of the usual outreach" of the U.S. government and declined further comment.See links below for additional details.
Javed Islam, a regional police chief in Pakistan, said the men wanted to join militants in the country's tribal area before crossing into Afghanistan and said they met with a banned military organization, Jaish-e-Mohammed in Hyderabad, and with representatives of a related group, Jamat-ud-Dawa, in Lahore.
Another law enforcement official, Usman Anwar, the local police chief in Sargodha, told The Associated Press that the five are "directly connected" to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
"They are proudly saying they are here for jihad" or holy war, Anwar said.
The men used the social networking site Facebook and the Internet video site YouTube to try to connect with extremist groups in Pakistan, said S.M. Imran Gardezi, the press minister at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. When they arrived in Pakistan, they took that effort to the street.
(Report from newswire sources.)
5 Americans were in Pakistan for jihad, officials say
Pakistani police: 5 Americans have al-Qaida link