Doctor who helped CIA barred from leaving Pakistan

AP News
Posted: Sep 06, 2011 8:59 AM
Doctor who helped CIA barred from leaving Pakistan

A doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been barred from leaving Pakistan, a commission investigating the killing of the al-Qaida leader said Tuesday.

Dr. Shakil Afridi ran a phony vaccination program in the Pakistani town where the al-Qaida leader hid in an effort to obtain a DNA sample from him. Afridi is being detained by Pakistani authorities, but has not been charged with any crime.

American officials want him released, and his fate has become a complicating issue in strained relations between the two country's spy services. There has been speculation Afridi and his family may leave Pakistan if he is freed.

The government-appointed commission said Tuesday that Afridi and other people who are wanted for questioning are banned from leaving Pakistan without special clearance.

The commission has been tasked with investigating how bin Laden managed to hide in the army town of Abbottabad for so long, and the circumstances surrounding the U.S. operation. It is headed by a Supreme Court justice, and its members are a retired general, a former diplomat, a former police chief and a civil servant.

In July, it issued an order banning the wives and children of bin Laden from leaving the country. They have been detained since the night of the raid, but there had been indications Pakistani authorities were intending to deport one or all of them to their native countries.

Washington did not tell Pakistan about the raid on bin Laden beforehand, triggering anger here that was fed by the country's media and the army. Western concerns that elements of Pakistan's security forces may have sheltered the world's most-wanted terrorist did not receive as much attention.