PESHAWAR – Law-enforcement agencies arrested a US embassy employee carrying illegal arsenal and cartridges at Peshawar Airport on Tuesday.

Police sources said the US diplomat, who was identified as William Charles, was going to Islamabad from Peshawar by PK-218 flight when airport security personnel recovered 17 cartridges in a magazine.

The authorities said the diplomat had been handed over to the US Consulate.

Agencies add: The American was about to fly from Peshawar to Islamabad when he was taken into police custody, said Tahir Ayub, a senior police superintendent.

He was released after four hours when officials from the US Consulate in Peshawar produced documents to show the man worked at the consulate. “He’s been released to the consulate,” a US official in Islamabad said. “He’s at the consulate now.”

The American is an embassy employee usually based in Islamabad but was temporarily assigned to the Peshawar consulate, the official said.

Police officers had earlier said they would hold the man until his identity had been verified by the foreign office in Islamabad and a US official in the capital had said the embassy was looking into the details of the reports.

“He has diplomatic status,” the official said. “We’re in contact with Pakistani authorities on the details on the case.”

Ayub said a pistol and 12 magazine rounds had been recovered from the man’s luggage, while another police officer said security officials had only found bullets.