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Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 14:28 UK

Arrested 'American' is released

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A man believed to be a US citizen who was arrested near Pakistan's restive tribal area near the Afghan border has been released, police say.

The 20-year-old was detained at a checkpoint while trying to enter the Mohmand Agency area, they said.

Local police chief Waqif Khan told the BBC that the man - known only by his first name of Jawad - was freed after questioning without being charged.

Mr Khan said that police had been able to confirm his alibi.

Pro-Taleban militants have been active in Pakistan's tribal areas, which have seen months of fighting between the militants and security forces.

'No permission'

Police say that the man was taken into custody on Monday in the district of Charsadda as he was trying to enter into the Mohmand tribal region.

Police investigated why he was in the area, spokesman Pir Shahab was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.

Mr Shahab said the man did not have the permission required by Pakistani law to be in the region.

The man was wearing traditional Pakistani dress and appeared to be a civilian, AP quoted another police officer, Marjan Khan, as saying.

"He told us that he was a student at a community college in Florida and wanted to enter the tribal region to see a friend," Mr Khan said.

He said the man was carrying a laptop computer and a travel bag, and had been moved to an undisclosed location for questioning.

The US embassy in Islamabad and its consulate in Peshawar contacted Pakistani officials about the reported arrest, AP quoted embassy spokesman Louis Fintor as saying.

Taleban and al-Qaeda militants have been active in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border.

In recent months, the US and Pakistani military have attacked the militants' bases.

Local tribal leaders have also taken up arms against the Taleban and al-Qaeda.





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