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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 12:56 GMT
Pakistan detains Islamic 'army leader'
Weapons ready for action
The tribesmen have machine guns and swords
An Islamic leader who led thousands of Pakistanis across the border to support the Taleban in Afghanistan has been arrested, his son has confirmed.

Maulana Sufi Mohammed was detained by paramilitary police on Sunday when he slipped back into Pakistan, his son Fazllulah told Reuters news agency.

Fazllulah said about 1,000 of his father's followers were still missing in Afghanistan.

Mohammed is the head of Tehreek Nifaz-e-Sharia Mohammadi, a group which supports the imposition of Islamic Sharia law in Pakistan.

'Robbed by Afghans'

Mohammed and many of his supporters spent much of last week stranded in the border area because Pakistani border guards insisted they leave their weapons behind.

He was arrested near the town of Parachinar, some 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Peshawar.

His supporters, who entered Afghanistan armed with machine guns, rocket launchers, axes and swords, began trying to get home after the Taleban retreated from the north of the country.

Fazllulah told the Associated Press news agency recently that many Afghans tried to rob his father's fighters of their weapons and money.

The Pakistan tribesmen gathered in response to calls for volunteers by local Islamic militants.

Most come from villages inside the North West Frontier Province, which has strong cultural and family ties with Afghanistan.

See also:

21 Oct 01 | South Asia
Ramadan deadline looms for US action
15 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan seeks reassurance
10 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's fault lines
02 Oct 01 | South Asia
Quetta protest draws thousands
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