6 Aug 2008

Pakistani woman appears in US court

5:45 pm on 6 August 2008

A Pakistani woman alleged to have close links to al Qaeda's leadership has appeared in court in New York on Wednesday on charges of attempting to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan last month.

American-trained neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, 36, who had been living in the United States, disappeared five years ago, along with her children, on a trip to Pakistan.

Her lawyers and human rights groups maintain that since then she has been held in secret US detention centres.

But court documents indicate she was arrested only last month in eastern Afghanistan, where it is alleged she tried to shoot an American team sent to question her.

The New York Times reports that US officials believe she was in Pakistan until her arrest in Afghanistan.

The paper says she had links to at least two al Qaeda members held at a prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.