New York, Dec. 11 (ANI): Five of the 'missing' young US Muslim men, who were apprehended in Pakistan's Sargodha on Wednesday, were on their way to the Taliban sanctuary being operated in the country's lawless tribal areas to receive training to fight American troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials have said.
The men, a tight circle of friends in their late teens and 20s from the Washington suburbs, had been in contact through YouTube and an Internet chat room with a Pakistani militant with links to Al Qaeda before arriving in Pakistan on November 30, The New York Times quoted a Pakistani official, as saying.
According to the official, all the men first tried to join an extremist Islamic school situated near Karachi, and had also approached the Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Lahore.
However, they were refused admission there due to their western appearance and inability to speak Urdu.
"They then travelled to Sargodha, in northern Punjab, where they were picked up by the authorities en route to North Waziristan, a stronghold of Al Qaeda and the Taliban," said, Usman Anwar, Sargodha police chief.
Meanwhile, a US official has said that all the five arrested men are likely to be deported, and added that at least two of them are currently being quizzed by the FBI in Pakistan.
Officials said the house from where all the men were nabbed belonged to Khalid Farooq, who is the father of one of the young men, Umer Farooq.
They claimed that Khalid has close ties with the banned militant organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
It may be noted that an 11-minute video was recovered from the apartment of one of the men just after his mysterious disappearance along with four others.
The video called for defence of Muslims in conflicts with the West, and suggested that "young Muslims have to do something."
The sudden disappearance of the five men and their resurfacing in Pakistan has raised concerns in the United States about substantial increase in 'homegrown' terror cases.
Investigations have revealed that one of the five men, Ramy Zamzam, 22, is a dental student at Howard University.
One of Zamzam's old friends, Zohra Alnoor said she was shocked at the news of her friend's arrest.
Although Alnoor failed to describe Zamzam's political beliefs, she referred him as a 'devout'.
"He was very devout; he wouldn't date women," Alnoor said.
Zamzam's 16-year old neighbour, Peter Max-Jones, called him "very intelligent, very kind, very helpful. Good citizen, all around."
"Zamzam's family was very patriotic, very quiet.They're never outside. They're always at home, studying," Jones added. (ANI)