Background of Arrest of Afridi (Pakistan Doctor)

From May 2012…

Pakistan Sentences Shakil Afridi to 30 Years, Sends U.S. Clear Signal

According to the Pakistani charges, the CIA hired Afridi to run a phony hepatitis B vaccination campaign in an effort to get blood samples from the several children living at bin Laden’s sprawling Abbottabad compound. He was frequently absent from his Khyber agency base in early 2011, which caused some of his colleagues to suspect that he was having an affair in Abbottabad. When questioned, he replied that he had “business” to attend to. But he had rented a house near bin Laden’s three-story home and hired nurses in an attempt to gain entry and take a necessary blood sample before any hepatitis vaccination could be administered. The CIA hoped a successful blood sample, when matched with DNA samples the agency already had from other bin Laden family members, would provide proof that bin Laden or at least his family was living in the compound. It’s unclear if one of Afridi’s nurses ever gained entry to the compound and obtained a blood sample from one of the children.

Three weeks after the raid, the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency arrested Afridi in a smugglers’ bazaar on the border between Peshawar city and the Khyber agency. (One big unanswered question: why he didn’t leave the country as soon as bin Laden was killed, and why didn’t the CIA spirit him out of Pakistan?) Within hours, his Pakistani-born wife—an American citizen—and their three children vanished from their house in Peshawar. Their whereabouts are unknown. Afridi was whisked away to an ISI safe house, where he has been held until this week’s sentencing. In February, 15 nurses and two public health officials were fired from their jobs in the Khyber agency, allegedly as a result of their past association with Afridi.

The article also gives the details about a supply route through Pakistan to Afghanistan that was closed due to this and in protest over the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November in a U.S. air attack on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. There was a NATO meeting in Chicago were some had hoped the issues would be resolved, but Obama snubbed Pakistan president Zardani.

Although it sounds like a stretch, Pakistani journalists and some Western diplomats in Islamabad tried to link the apparent slight Zardari suffered in Chicago with the sudden and harsh jail sentence Wednesday for Shakil Afridi. Nonetheless, with the sentencing Pakistan is sending out a clear message to Washington and to Pakistanis that it would not tolerate the recruitment of its citizens by the CIA.

Much more at the link.


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