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American detained at Pakistan airport for carrying bullets

Last updated on: February 14, 2012 16:27 IST

An American national, working with the United States embassy was briefly detained at the airport in Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan on Tuesday after security officials found 13 bullets in his luggage, police said.

The American was set to fly from Peshawar to Islamabad when he was detained. He was questioned before being handed over to officials of the US consulate, police officials said.

Official sources said the detained American was a US embassy employee on temporary assignment to Peshawar and had diplomatic status.

Richard Hoagland, charge d'affairs at the US embassy, said in a message posted on Twitter: "Person in Peshawar released to US custody. Thanks to good Pakistani partners for a sane resolution."

Officials told the media that more than a dozen bullets were found in the American's luggage. One report said a pistol was also found in the baggage but this could not be independently confirmed. TV news channels beamed a photo of the American's passport, which identified him as Charles Arthur Williams.

The US has a large consulate in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan's security establishment forced the US to withdraw dozens of undercover intelligence operatives after CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two men who were apparently linked to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency in Lahore last year.

The activities of the US intelligence operatives had emerged as an irritant in bilateral ties at the time.

Pakistan-US ties plunged to a fresh low in November last year, when a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The government subsequently ordered a parliamentary review of bilateral ties.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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