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Pakistan Arrests German Man With Suspected Taleban Links - 2001-10-07

Pakistani authorities have arrested a 19-year-old German man after he tried entering the country from Afghanistan. German media say he may be involved with Afghanistan's Taleban.

The German Foreign Ministry says its consular officials in Pakistan are in regular contact with the German teenager who was arrested at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on September 22. A spokeswoman added that the young man had been informed of his rights and been advised to get legal representation.

No further details are available from the ministry. But the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, quoting federal investigation agency sources, says the man, who was identified only as Denis J., had been given military training by the Taleban. He had also been on night watch duty for the Taleban and had been studying the Koran in Afghanistan, it said.

The newspaper also said police had investigated the man's Frankfurt home and interviewed his parents. They had confiscated camouflage clothing, a student identification card and the visiting card of a Muslim burial society.

Citing investigation agency sources again, Bild said Dennis J. was a devout Muslim who had had been in contact with the Taleban's office in Frankfurt. The newspaper said he had been interested in militant Islam since he was 13 years old. He had broken off his studies to spend seven weeks in Bosnia and had then gone to Afghanistan in March of this year.

Nothing else has been made public in Germany about the man's background. But reports say he is being held in the Pakistani city of Peshawar for entering the country without a passport.