May 11th, 2010
08:28 PM ET

Pakistani man arrested at U.S. Embassy in Chile, officials say

A 28-year-old Pakistani man with explosives residue on his clothes was arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Chile, the State Department and Chilean national police said Tuesday.

U.S. Embassy officials in Santiago, Chile's capital, asked the man to come in for a routine consular issue and when he arrived, detectors registered the explosives residue, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday afternoon at a briefing in Washington.

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

Crowley declined to give further details on why the man was asked to come in to the embassy.

A senior U.S. official told CNN the man was linked to an extremist group based in the Western Hemisphere and not to a group in Pakistan.

"As far as we can tell, the origin of the activities which brought him to our attention were more of a local or regional nature than international," the official said. "He came to Chile on a student visa and while there he associated himself with a group that we have some knowledge of that was espousing extremist and anti-Western views."

The official told CNN the man was on a watch list and was being tracked for some time because he was believed to be involved with the extremist group, which the official declined to identify. The official said the association was enough to call him to the U.S. embassy in Chile to revoke his visa. U.S. officials were surprised when he tested positive for TNT.

An investigation is underway to determine what he was doing with explosives and whether he posed a threat to the United States.

Crowley identified the suspect as Muhammad Saif-ur-Rehman Khan and said he was handed over to Chilean authorities. A spokesman for the Carabineros, Chile's national police, gave the man's name as Mauhamnas Saif Ur.

The explosives residue was found on the man's clothes, the Carabinero spokesman told CNN in a telephone interview from Santiago. He declined to give his name, following Carabinero policy.

The suspect was scheduled to have a court hearing Tuesday afternoon in which he would be charged with a firearms violation, the spokesman said.

Lt. Col. Fernando Vera of the Carabineros said in a televised interview that standard procedures were followed.

"The embassy has their security procedures in place and their security measures were activated, and that required the support of our personnel," Vera said. "Our personnel is on site and, according to agreements and protocols, the individual has been in custody of the interior minister."

The suspect had been in Chile since January and was doing an internship in tourism at a Chilean hotel, said CNN Chile, CNN's partner network in the nation.

Chilean authorities searched the man's apartment in a student housing district in central Santiago, CNN Chile reported. Video showed officials in white hazmat suits carrying items out of an apartment.

A neighbor said in a televised interview that the suspect was a religious man who went to a local mosque every day. Asked whether friends visited him, the unnamed neighbor said, "No. Nobody."

The incident occurred a week after Faisal Shahzad - a Pakistani-born naturalized U.S. citizen - was arrested in connection with a failed car bombing in New York's Times Square.

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Filed under: Chile • Pakistan
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Hypocrisy at its best

    Oh god, what a non sense.....US provides everything to Pakistan you name it, still they want to hurt them, what would happens to other I can’t imagine?? there is a big elephant in the room and everyone wants to deny its existence, pls stop sugar coating these things. There are some real problems, better deal with them openly and do it now or soon they will hurt everyone (if you are on the other side of the equation). There will be million ways for these people to justify these attacks.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Haider

    Amazing! Its so easy for the people from Pakistan and indeed Pakistan itself to get into World hreadlines these days.Here is the quick recipe, You just need a person preferably a male from Pakistan and any reason or remotely possible way to connect this person somehow to something that can be regarded as a dangerous explosive material and there you are in the news instantly. If you want to "be the first", turn to CNN. The hardships that ordinary and poor people of Pakistan, that have nothing to do with terrorists or terrorism or so called "War on Terror" ,are suffering from on daily basis never get reported in the international media.But they are quick to jump on any news that can provide them and the people and their Governments indeed something more to curse this unfortunate country. All this is happening even when people, this media and their Governments know that these terrorists were once "mujahideen" against the soviets when fighters from all over the world were gathered in Pakistan at the will and rigourous support of then U.S and Saudi Governments. Poor Pakistan was just the laboratory the people conducting experiments were the U.S and Saudi Governments and other western governments who wanted to see Russia's downfall.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Haider

    Pakistan is forever, Inshallah. All its past,present and future enemies are destined to fail, inshallah. Long live Pakistan and GOD bless Pakistan and its true patriots.

    May 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    i already mention it before that be vigilant they are coming from the back door, may more arre we have to be very care full in issueing visa fr south america may be some are already here thru those drug lords who only wants money and destroys others life for crying out loud we should man those borders carefully

    May 11, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hank

    What is a Pakistani doing in Chile?

    May 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CoolGuy

    @Haider, how old is your country? Your country doesn't even have a past, probably current and absolutely no FUTURE.

    May 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin

    "siryousaf" – quick question, if this is "a trap" then how do you explain the explosives residue on his hands, cell phone and other belongings?

    May 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    US has lost its credibility. WMD allegation, destroyed an entire country and now destroying individual lives. Who to trust anymore? How long and how far we can degrade ourselves? and then we ask ourselves why people hate US.

    May 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ronon

    why do we keep puting up with this crap from pakistan! in 1993 a guy from pakistan killed 2 people outside the cia headquarters in langley VA, in 2006 a pakistani-american shot up the headquarters of a jewish group in seattle WA killing 1 and of corse last week a guy from pakistan placed a dud car bomb in NYC. the pakistani intelegence service (ISI) openly supports terrorist attacks in india and several Americans have died in these attacks. only iran is more involved in state terrorism than pakistan. nearly every major attempted terrorist attack in the us since 9/11 has been linked to pakistan. it is likely that some of the aid money that the us has given pakistan was used by the ISI to stage terrorist attacks in india. pakistan also continues to support the taliban in order to keep india out of afghanistan. so the us need to stop giving money to pakistan. i hate pakistan!

    May 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ronon

    why do we keep puting up with this crap from pakistan! in 1993 a guy from pakistan killed 2 people outside the cia headquarters in langley VA, in 2006 a pakistani-american shot up the headquarters of a jewish group in seattle WA killing 1 and of corse last week a guy from pakistan placed a dud car bomb in NYC. the pakistani intelegence service (ISI) openly supports terrorist attacks in india and several Americans have died in these attacks. only iran is more involved in state terrorism than pakistan. nearly every major attempted terrorist attack in the us since 9/11 has been linked to pakistan. it is likely that some of the aid money that the us has given pakistan was used by the ISI to stage terrorist attacks in india. pakistan also continues to support the taliban in order to keep india out of afghanistan. so the us need to stop giving money to pakistan. thats why i hate pakistan!

    May 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MSharpe

    I live in Chile.
    If you want a visa to visit the US you have to file your request through a third party service. If your application is denied the service company tells you, not the embassy. If the embassy thinks you may be OK then, irrespective of your nationality, you have to go for a personal interview. It has been that way for many years.

    May 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MSharpe

    Response to BAK [11]

    If the US was in on a setup with the Chileans they had no need to call him to the embassy. The arrest of a person from his country who did not live in Chile and had traces of explosives on his clothes and had a valid US visa would have been more than enough.

    May 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wow

    Found this on another forum:

    http://www.paklinks.com/gs/7383846-post2.html

    Im just shocked. So the is it the US desperately looking for reasons to invade Pakistan or are they doing that as per indian instructions?

    May 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Donna

    God is a myth. All you believers out there are talking to an imaginary friend. LMAO

    May 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mana

    Here's how screwed up CIA/FBI are... watch your back, you might be next...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5053007/
    The reason he got out was, he was a lawyer and his dad was a lawyer and they were all US citizens.

    May 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
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