Osama bin Laden hunter
An American would-be bounty hunter set out to hunt down Osama bin Laden in a Rambo-style solo mission as he was dying from a kidney disease.
Rob Crilly in Islamabad and Nick Allen in Los Angeles
Published: 7:30AM BST 16 Jun 2010
Gary Brooks Faulkner, 51, was detained in northern Pakistan where security forces believe he was on a one man quest to find and decapitate the al-Qaeda leader in revenge for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Faulkner, who has been dubbed “Rambo” and the “American Ninja,” was arrested with night-vision goggles, a pistol, dagger and 40-inch sword that may have been intended for use on bin Laden.
He had grown a long beard in an attempt to pass for a Taliban fighter and was carrying with him a book containing Christian verses and teachings.
Unlike Rambo, the elite soldier character made famous by actor Sylvester Stallone, he also had with him medication to treat his high blood pressure and kidney condition.
His sister Deanna Faulkner, 55, said he needed dialysis every three days but could survive without for up to two weeks.
She said: "He only has nine per cent kidney function and the only thing that can cure him is a transplant. I'm guessing that he wanted to do one last thing for his country before he died.
“His family is here and we love him. I'm worried that in Pakistan they won't give him his dialysis and if he doesn't get it, he's in serious trouble.”
A police spokesman in Pakistan said Faulkner was hunting bin Laden because he suffered “personal” losses in the September 11 attacks.
Bin Laden's would-be nemesis was born in California but has lived most of his life in Colorado, where he is a construction worker.
Since 1981 he has been arrested at least 10 times on charges ranging from traffic offences to theft and domestic violence, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
His brother Scott Faulkner, 44, a Colorado doctor, said he had been deeply affected by the terrorst attacks nine years ago.
Mr Faulkner said: “Osama had made some references to our God, the God of the Bible, in a poor light, and the fact that he was taunting America and getting away with killing thousands of Americans, my brother took that very personally.
"He's like a bulldog and when he got this idea to go after Osama he's not going to let it go. I did not discourage him.”
Mr Faulkner said his brother was “not a terrorist” and “not crazy” and was "doing something that we would all wish to do."
He told CNN: "If we saw Osama walking down the sidewalk, well, I know I would probably put a bullet in the guy's head. Yes, I'm a doctor, but I'm still an American."
He said his brother could blend in and venture to places the USmilitary could not, adding: "He had a long beard. He looked like Taliban. When he wore his robe, he looked like Taliban. The only way you could tell he was not was when he spoke.”
Faulkner arrived in Bumburate, a town in the mountainous Chitral region on June 3. It was his seventh trip to Pakistan and his third to Chitral.
Police there had assigned him a security guard as an American tourist was unusual but he slipped away in the middle of the night and a search was launched.
He was spotted 10 hours later on a mountain track in a forest nine miles from the remote border he was trying to cross into Afghanistan.
According to a Pakistani intelligence official Faulkner told police officers “Don't come closer to me or I'll open fire!” but then gave himself up.
He told them he was on a “mission to decapitate Osama bin Laden and his four accomplices” who posed a “constant threat to America.”
He told the officers: “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him.”
Faulkner said he was heading to the eastern Afghan region of Nuristan where he believed bin Laden, who has a $25 million (£16.8 million) price on his head, was hiding.
Pakistani police spokesman Mumtaz Ahmad Khan said: “We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden but our suspicions grew when we saw his weapons.
“He said 9/11 caused colossal losses to the US, therefore he wanted to locate Osama bin Laden and his friends. We presume he came here with an intention to kill them.”
Faulkner was sent to Peshawar where he is being questioned by Pakistani intelligence agents.
Chitral and Nuristan are among several places bin Laden is rumoured to be hiding, having evaded a massive US effort to capture him since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Faulkner’s case is believed to be the first of an American entering Pakistan and Afghanistan alone to take on al-Qaeda.
A US Embassy spokesman in Islamabad said: “We are now working on getting consular access and meeting with the American citizen.”