Pakistani police are pursuing terrorism charges against five detained American men, police said Friday, a move that could complicate efforts to bring the men back to the United States where they could also land in the courts.
The case has bolstered fears that Americans and other Westerners are heading to Pakistan to link up with al-Qaida and other militant groups, and it could test a US-Pakistani relationship already made brittle by demands of the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
The young Muslim men, who are from the Washington, D.C., area, have not yet been formally charged with any crime.
However, police are now alleging that the men were collecting and attempting to collect material to carry out terrorist activities in the list of recommended charges to be presented to a court, police official Nazir Ahmad told The Associated Press.
Those charges fall under sections of Pakistan's anti-terrorism law, and the punishments range from seven years to life in prison, the police official said in a phone interview.