KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Police in Pakistan questioned an American on Wednesday after U.S. authorities said an FBI agent on an anti-corruption taskforce had been arrested there, officials said.
The arrest marked the latest incident to trouble relations between Pakistan and the U.S., two uneasy allies since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Pakistani police officer Rao Anwaar declined to say whether the detained American was the FBI agent. He said investigators hadn't received any written evidence proving the man worked for the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.
The American arrived in Karachi on May 1 and was detained Monday when he was about to board a flight for Islamabad, Anwaar said. He said officials found the man carrying ammunition and three knives, as well as electronic devices that were being examined.
"We have sent his laptop and other gadgets for forensic examination," Anwaar said. He declined to comment further.
A law enforcement official in the U.S. identified the man as an FBI agent and said he was in Pakistan as part of a multi-agency, anti-corruption program. The official said the agent appears to have made a mistake and that there's no indication he was trying to carry bullets aboard the plane. The official said authorities are hopeful the situation will be resolved soon with the agent's release.
The official, who did not provide the agent's name or age, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivities of the case.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the detention and said the U.S. was coordinating with Pakistani authorities to resolve the matter.
"This individual detained is an employee of the FBI who was on a temporary duty assignment to provide routine assistance to the legal attache at the U.S. mission. But we are coordinating closely to resolve this manner with authorities, and we are hopeful in that regard."
Pakistani television channels aired footage Wednesday of police presenting the American in court Tuesday, which allowed the investigators to question him for four days. The footage showed the man in handcuffs, wearing a blue lining shirt while standing in the dock.
Washington needs Pakistan's help fighting al-Qaida and stabilizing neighboring Afghanistan, as NATO uses Pakistani roads to supply its troops. However, relations have strained over a series of incidents. CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistani men in Lahore in January 2011. The U.S. unilaterally killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May 2011 and American forces accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops along the Afghan border the same year. U.S. drones strikes in the country also have angered Pakistanis.
Eric Tucker and Deb Riechmann contributed from Washington.