SARGODHA, Pakistan – One of five Americans detained in Pakistan said their aim was to go to Afghanistan to wage jihad against Western forces, defending their intention as justified under Islam.
But he denied any links to al-Qaida or plans to carry out terrorist attacks in Pakistan, as alleged by Pakistani authorities.
Monday was the first time the young Muslims from the Washington, D.C., area have addressed a court after being arrested in early December in the eastern Pakistani city of Sargodha. The case has spurred fears that Westerners are traveling to Pakistan to join militant groups. Pakistani police have said they plan to seek life sentences for the men under the country’s anti-terrorism law.