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American on alleged bin Laden hunt caught in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD -- An American man armed with a pistol and a 40-inch sword was detained in northern Pakistan as he tried to cross the border into Afghanistan on a mission to avenge the 9/11 attacks and kill Osama bin Laden, police said Tuesday.

Police said Gary Brooks Faulkner, a 51-year-old construction worker, was also carrying Christian literature and a small amount of hashish.

Faulkner's sister, interviewed in Colorado, said her brother has polycystic kidney disease that has left him with only 9 percent kidney function and needs dialysis.

But Deanna M. Faulkner, of Grand Junction, Colo., told The Associated Press that she didn't think her brother's illness was his motivation in going to Pakistan.

''I don't believe this was, 'I'm dying and I'm going to do a hurrah thing.''' She said her brother is ''very religious'' but declined to elaborate.

Late Tuesday, the top police officer in the Chitral region declined to repeat his earlier statement that the American had said he was on a mission to kill bin Laden. Mumtaz Ahmad Khan did not retract his remarks, but said that they were not the American's ''pure words.'' He put down the phone when asked to elaborate.

Khan did repeat earlier allegations that Faulkner was armed with a pistol, the sword and a dagger when he was arrested late Sunday. He declined to give more details, saying Faulkner was now in the hands of the country's all-powerful intelligence agencies.

The whereabouts of bin Laden is a very sensitive issue for Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment. Their officials generally deny the possibility that bin Laden is hiding somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghan border as Western intelligence agencies believe.

Bin Laden has evaded a massive manhunt since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which he is accused of masterminding along with other attacks. Washington has offered a bounty of $25 million for information leading to his capture.