Five Americans detained in Pakistan denied today that they planned to carry out terrorist attacks, as a court granted police two weeks to prepare terrorism charges against them, their defense lawyer said. The men, all Muslims aged 19 to 25 from the Washington, DC, area, were arrested in early December in the eastern Pakistani city of Sargodha. During their court appearance today, they denied any ties with al-Qaeda or other militant groups.
"They said that they only intended to travel to Afghanistan to help their Muslim brothers who are in trouble, who are bleeding and who are being victimized by Western forces," their lawyer said. But that assistance may have included fighting for insurgents. As he entered the courtroom one of the men told the AP, "We are not terrorists. We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism."