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Police detain American at Pakistani airport

By Riaz Khan

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Feb. 13 2012 11:20 p.m. MST

Pakistani men cross a bridge over a canal filled with garbage in the old town of Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012.

Anja Niedringhaus, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani security forces on Tuesday detained an American citizen at an airport in the northwest of the country after bullets were found in his luggage, police said.

Officer Dost Mohammad Khan said the man was claiming to be an American diplomat.

A U.S. Embassy official said the mission "was looking into the report." The official didn't give his name because he was not authorized by Washington to be named in the media.

Khan said the man was detained in Peshawar city, where the U.S. has a large consulate.

He said the suspect had 13 bullets in his luggage and was due to fly to the capital, Islamabad.

The presence of American diplomats inside Pakistan emerged as a sensitive issue after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistani men in the eastern city of Lahore a year ago. U.S. officials insisted the shooter had diplomatic immunity, but Pakistan held him in jail for around two months, causing severe strain in U.S-Pakistan ties.

The unilateral American-raid that killed Osama bin Laden in an army town in May last year also led to a fresh wave of suspicion against Western diplomats by the Pakistani security establishment, which was apparently stung by the realization that the CIA agents were operating in the country without its knowledge.

Associated Press writer Chris Brummitt in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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