US claims Dr Aafia eldest son still in Afghan custody

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Washington, Aug 27 : The 11-year old boy who was captured along with 'terror suspect' Pakistani-American doctor Aafia Siddiqui is her son and presently under Afghan authorities' custody, said US authorities in a letter written to Siddiqui's family.

The whereabouts of her two other children - one six-month and the other 5-year old - are still not known.

In the letter, the US authorities also maintained that the photos and DNA tests of the boy strongly suggest that the youngster in Afghan custody was Siddiqui's son "Ahmed", the Daily Times quoted a report in the Washington Times as saying.

According to Dr Aafia's lawyers, Siddiqui is likely to petition a federal court in US to have Ahmed placed in the custody of her brother in Texas.

The boy was reportedly detained on July 18 when Afghan police arrested Dr Aafia near a government compound in Ghazni. Siddiqui and her three children disappeared in 2003 in Karachi. She had set out from her mother's home on her way to the airport to take a flight to Islamabad, but she never arrived.

Inexplicably, her family did not lodge a missing person report with the police. She is now in a federal prison in New York, charged with attempted murder, added the paper.

Siddiqui's lawyers and family members have questioned the US government's account that Siddiqui had resurfaced five years after disappearing with her three young children in Pakistan. Her family contends that she and her children were "imprisoned during at least some of that time at a secret site", possibly by Afghan or Pakistani officials working with the CIA.

Her lawyer Elizabeth Fink said, "something is really dirty here. Everything about the government's story smells", and that her client was psychologically traumatised over an extended period of time. "Whatever happened to this woman is terrible, and it's incumbent on us to find out what it was," said her other attorneys.

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