Police in northern Pakistan say they have arrested an American who said he was on a solo mission to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Authorities say they found the man armed with a handgun, a sword, a dagger and night vision equipment in the Chitral region near the Afghan border.  Police say he was trying to cross into Afghanistan's Nuristan region because he told them that bin Laden was hiding there.

Authorities have identified the man as Gary Faulkner, a construction worker from California.

Friends of Faulkner say he is a devout Christian who has traveled widely in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

Pakistani police say Faulkner arrived in Chitral on June 3 and was staying at a local hotel.  Officials there had assigned him a security guard, a step that is common for foreigners in remote parts of Pakistan.  Pakistani authorities began searching for Faulkner when the guard noticed that he had disappeared.  

Afghanistan's Nuristan region and Pakistan's Chitral region are among several rumored hiding spots for the al-Qaida leader.

Osama bin Laden's whereabouts have remained a mystery since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.  The United States has offered a $25 million reward for information leading to bin Laden's capture.

U.S. diplomats in Pakistan say they were notified that an American had been detained.  They say they are trying to meet with the man and confirm his identity.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.