Pakistan: US Students Tried to Join Jihadists
Terror groups rejected Virginians who wanted to fight US
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2009 2:07 AM CST
Pakistani Taliban members hold their weapons as they gather before leaving Buner in northwestern Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Naveed Ali)

(Newser) – Five men from Virginia arrested in Pakistan tried to join extremist groups to fight US forces in Afghanistan, according to Pakistani authorities. "We are here for jihad," the men allegedly told interrogators. Police say the men managed to make contact with several extremists groups, including two linked to al-Qaeda, but they were rejected because they didn't have anybody to vouch for them.

The students' families—who alerted the FBI after they disappeared—say they had no idea the men had become radicalized. Friends describe the five, all US citizens, as devout but not extreme Muslims. US authorities are exploring potential charges against the men, including providing material support to terrorism. "These aren't just hikers lost in the woods," one official involved in the case tells the Washington Post.