Gary Brooks Faulkner: 'American ninja' hunting Osama bin Laden
Gary Brooks Faulkner, a California construction worker, was detained in Pakistan carrying a sword, a pistol, and night vision goggles. He was hunting for Osama bin Laden near Chitral, Pakistan. Was Faulkner on the right track?
Islamabad, Pakistan — Gary Brooks Faulkner , an American citizen who told police he was searching for Osama Bin Laden , has been arrested in northwest Pakistan armed with a gun, a sword, and Christian literature.
The 52-year-old California construction worker arrived in the picturesque mountain border province of Chitral , which borders the Taliban stronghold of Nuristan in Afghanistan , on June 3, accompanied by a security guard that is mandatory for foreigners entering the area, Pakistani police said.
After hotel security guards noticed he had vanished on Sunday night, a search party was dispatched. After a 10-hour manhunt they found Faulker some 14 kilometers (9 miles) from the Afghan border, according to police official Mumtaz Ahmad Khan.
Faulkner was also carrying night vision goggles and a dagger to go along with his sword. He has since been shifted to police custody in Peshawar , capital of the Khyber Pakthunkwa province.
US bloggers have latched on to his story, calling Faulkner an "American ninja" and a "Christian warrior."
Richard Snelsire , a US embassy spokesman, says that the US consulate in Peshawar is aware that a US citizen has been detained and is seeking consular access.
While Faulkner's one-man mission to hunt down bin Laden may be improbable, Chitral has long been suspected as a possible hideout for bin Laden.
In 2002, the Monitor asked then President Pervez Musharraf about intelligence reports that Al Qaeda's leader was ensconced in Chitral . In 2009, the New York Daily News reported that US drones were still actively buzzing that part of Pakistan, hunting for bin Laden.
According to Rifaat Hussain , a security analyst at the Quaid-i-Azam university in Islamabad , Nuristan remains a Taliban stronghold and some intelligence reports suggest Maulana Fazlullah , the vanquished leader of the Swat Taliban, may have fled there. However, he adds, “we haven’t seen any fresh intelligence suggesting where [Bin Laden]’s possible hideouts are.”
Police said it was Faulkner’s third visit to the area in three years. If the allegations are proven true, it would be the first instance of a bounty-hunter being detained in pursuit of the $50 miliion reward offered by US authorities.
It could also serve as a warning to copy-cats, says Dr. Hussain. “Only the most dare-devil [individuals] would attempt such a mission given the risks involved, without a network of contacts,” he says.
“As a foreigner, without knowing the language and how to wear the local dress, he would easily be identified as intruder.”