Pakistan continues to detain one person in the wake of the May U.S. raid against Osama bin Laden: Shakil Afridi. The Pakistani doctor and regional health official was, according to an intriguing report from McClatchy’s Saeed Shah, enlisted by the CIA to conduct a vaccination program in a failed attempt to collect a sample of bin Laden’s DNA.Here’s a snippet from McClatchy’s report, dateline Abbottabad:According to local residents, the doctor visited Abbottabad in March and April, saying he’d procured funds to give free vaccinations for hepatitis B.
Bypassing the management of the Abbottabad health services, he generously paid low-ranking local government nurses who provide door-to-door health services for women and children to visit the bin Laden compound.In April, he returned, and instead of giving those same recipients the required second dose, he moved the nurses to Bilal Town, the upscale suburb where bin Laden lived.One of the nurses, Mukhtar Bibi, who goes by the nickname Bakhto, managed to gain entry to the bin Laden compound for the vaccinations. According to several locals, the doctor, who waited outside, also instructed her to take in a handbag that had been fitted with an electronic device. The purpose of the device, if such equipment was indeed given to her, is unclear. Mukhtar Bibi refused to discuss the issue.
Two U.S. officials confirmed the CIA’s attempt to extract the DNA but one said that it didn’t succeed. The second U.S. official said that no electronic device was part of the plan.The revelation comes as the Obama administration announced over the weekend it is suspending $800 million in military aid to Pakistan.Pakistan has “taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we were giving to their military,” White House chief of staff Bill Daley told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “But until we get through these difficulties, we will hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers have committed to giving.”
The May 2 bin Laden raid set off a sharp deterioration in U.S.-Pakistani relations. U.S. officials said last week they have evidence that Pakistani intelligence sanctioned the May 31 murder of a Pakistani journalist, Syed Saeed Shahzad, who had reported on al Qaeda’s alleged infiltration of Pakistan’s navy.They’ve also said they find it hard to believe that bin Laden could have lived for six years in Abbottabad, up the street from Pakistan’s premier army officers academy, without coming to the attention of local authorities.Pakistani officials have been embarrassed that the U.S. was able to conduct the unilateral raid that killed bin Laden without being confronted and stopped by Pakistan’s military. – Yahoonews