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Chile holds Pakistani after U.S. pulls visa

A Pakistani man whose U.S. visa was revoked recently because of apparent terrorist ties has been arrested in Chile for attempting to enter the U.S. Embassy there with traces of explosives, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The Monday arrest came a week after another Pakistani, Faisal Shahzad, was detained in New York City in connection with an attempted car-bombing in Times Square on May 1.

However, U.S. officials said there were no known links between the two cases. They said they had information long before Mr. Shahzad's arrest about the possible association of Mohammed Saif-ur-Rehman Khan, a 28-year-old student in Santiago, and an extremist group, but they declined to be more specific.

That information led to the revocation of Mr. Khan's U.S. visa, the officials said. Following standard practice, the U.S. Embassy there summoned him to notify him of the decision and to learn more about the activities that prompted it.

"During a routine visitor screening, evidence of explosives was detected. He was subsequently arrested by local authorities," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

"We have information on this individual. We had invited him to come to the embassy, you know, to clarify the information that we have," Mr. Crowley said. "And as he came into the embassy, our explosive detectors went off."

Experts later found traces of a TNT explosive derivative on Mr. Khan's hands, cell phone, bag and documentation, Chilean police officials said.

After Mr. Khan's detention, investigators in white hazardous-materials suits searched his apartment in a student residence in downtown Santiago, according to Chilean press reports.

The Chilean authorities said they would hold Mr. Khan in custody for an additional five days while they investigate him. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter was quoted by Chile's La Tercera newspaper as saying, "We will be relentless in the fight against any form of crime, especially terrorism."

Mr. Crowley said U.S. and Chilean investigators will conduct a joint probe, but it was not clear if Mr. Khan will be charged with breaking U.S. law.

Mr. Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested on a Dubai-bound plane at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport last week after authorities accused him of trying to blow up a car in Times Square.

Senior Obama administration officials have linked him to the Pakistani Taliban and said he is cooperating with investigators.

Mr. Crowley said the administration is considering designating the Pakistani Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization.

About the Author
Nicholas  Kralev

Nicholas Kralev

Nicholas Kralev is The Washington Times’ diplomatic correspondent. His travels around the world with four secretaries of state — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright — as well as his other reporting overseas trips inspired his new weekly column, “On the Fly.” He is a former writer for the weekend edition of the Financial Times and ...

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