American was on solo mission to kill Bin Laden, Pakistani police say

Gary Brooks Faulkner, a construction worker, was arrested in a mountainous region of Pakistan, armed with a pistol, dagger, night-vision goggles and a belief that he could kill the terrorist on his own, Pakistani police say.




By Alex Rodriguez and Zulfiqar Ali

June 16, 2010

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan —

The U.S. has spent nine years and billions of dollars trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden amid the rugged, lawless badlands along Pakistani-Afghan border.
But according to Pakistani officials, Gary Brooks Faulkner thought he could get the job done himself, with a pistol, a dagger and a pair of night-vision goggles.
The construction worker, whose age was variously reported as 52 and 40, was arrested early Monday in Pakistan’s Chitral region, a mountainous, forested expanse along the Afghan border. When questioned, he told authorities that he was "on a mission to decapitate Bin Laden," Pakistani police officers quoted Faulkner as saying.

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Faulkner didn’t get very far, they said. He had been staying at a hotel in the town of Bumburate in Chitral since June 3. Local police were providing security for him, not uncommon in regions along the border where kidnappings and killings of foreigners have occurred. But on Sunday, he sneaked out of the hotel without telling the officer who was assigned to him.
After a 10-hour manhunt, he was picked up on a mountain path as he was trying to make his way across the border and into Nuristan, an eastern Afghanistan province that abuts Chitral, according to Pakistani officials. He was moved to the northwest city of Peshawar for further questioning, they said.
Faulkner was not made immediately available to speak with the media about the Pakistani statements.
Police said Faulkner told them he was intent on scouring caves and remote villages in eastern Afghanistan for Bin Laden because he regarded the leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network as a "constant threat to America."
The area is one of many where Bin Laden has long been rumored to be holed up. Bin Laden has been the subject of an intensive search by U.S. officials, who have offered a reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture.
According to the Associated Press, Faulkner told police that he had visited Pakistan seven times and that this was his third trip to Chitral, which is a mountainous region that attracts Western tourists and hikers. The news service reported that local police quoted Faulkner as saying, "God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him."
U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the embassy had been notified of the arrest of a U.S. citizen, and was working on arranging a consular visit with that individual. Snelsire declined further comment.
Times staff writer Rodriguez reported from Islamabad and special correspondent Ali from Peshawar.

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