Pakistan arrests FBI agent with bullets at Karachi airport

In this photograph taken on May 6, 2014 Pakistani policemen escort an alleged US FBI agent under arrest as they leave the local court in Karachi. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The US citizen has not been named by American officials

An agent with the US FBI has been arrested under anti-terrorism laws in Pakistan for carrying ammunition while trying to board a flight.

The US citizen was detained at Karachi airport after security staff found 15 bullets for a 9mm handgun in his luggage ahead of a flight to Islamabad.

A spokeswoman for the US state department said he was on a temporary assignment with the US mission.

A judge ruled he be held until Saturday while Pakistani officials investigate.

US officials said the man had accidentally been carrying the ammunition in his luggage when he was detained on Monday night.

The US embassy in Islamabad refused to reveal his identity but confirmed that a US citizen had been arrested and said the embassy was co-operating with local authorities.

On Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the man was an FBI employee "on temporary duty assignment to provide routine assistance to the legal attache at the US mission".

"We are co-ordinating with Pakistani authorities to resolve this matter," she said. "We are working closely with them."

American agents operating inside Pakistan have been the cause of strained relations in the past and have fuelled anti-US feeling in the country.

In 2011 there was furore when CIA contractor Raymond Davis was arrested for shooting dead two men following what he said was an attempted armed robbery in Lahore.

Mr Davis was later released after the families of the dead men accepted "blood money".

The United States and Pakistan co-operate in the global fight against Islamist militants, angering many Pakistanis.

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