Pakistani police arrested a 20-year-old American man late Monday close to the Pakistan-Afghan border for attempting to enter the region without the special permission required by Pakistani law. The border region has been plagued with fighting between Taliban and al-Qaida extremists and is believed to be a possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden.
Pakistani officials stated that the American’s passport identified him as Juddi Kenan (or Jude Kenan depending on the news reports). The man was wearing a traditional Pakistani dress and was not armed, carrying only a laptop, a few CD’s and a backpack. He told officials that he was a student at a community college in Florida and wanted to enter the tribal region to see a “friend.” He also reportedly was bearded and appeared to be an American citizen of Middle Eastern descent. His “friend” has not been identified.
There is rampant speculation about what Kenan could possibly be doing in the war-torn region alone, dressed as a Pakistani. Is he a spy? Is he an enterprising backpacker who REALLY likes to go off the beaten path? Is he a militant looking to join the Taliban, like John Walker Lindh? Is a soldier going AWOL?
We’ll keep an eye on this very bizarre story for future developments.