Pakistan Tightens Travel Controls on Western Muslims

Change Sparked by Capture of Five Americans

The Pakistani government has announced its intention to tighten travel controls on young men from Western nations who have an ethnic background which suggests they may be Muslim.

The move was prompted by the high profile arrests of five Americans earlier this week who allegedly came to Pakistan to commit jihad. The five young men disappeared from their homes in the US in November and were found at the house of a man involved with the banned Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM).

According to Pakistani police, the five are “directly connected” with al-Qaeda, though one police spokesman conceded that the men apparently tried and failed to join an al-Qaeda linked group, which rejected them because of their lack of references.

But while the five allegedly had hoped to join the fight against Western forces in Afghanistan, they were captured in Sargodha, closer to the Indian border, and hanging out with a JeM affiliate, a group which is heavily engaged in Indian Kashmir, but not Afghanistan. Still, Pakistani officials maintain that they planned a “big attack.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of