Islamabad expels aid group’s staff
ISLAMABAD - The Associated PressThe Pakistani government has ordered foreign staff members of Save the Children to leave the country, a spokesman for the international aid group said yesterday.
The group has recently come under Pakistani government scrutiny because of reports that it helped facilitate meetings between the U.S. and a doctor who allegedly helped hunt down Osama bin Laden, a charge which the group has vehemently denied. The expulsion order comes among heightened suspicion of foreigners in Pakistan in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda leader’s killing.
Ghulam Qadri said the Interior
Ministry informed the organization earlier this week that its six foreign staffers would have to leave the country within two weeks.
After the May 2011 American raid that killed bin Laden, Pakistan arrested Shakil Afridi, the doctor who allegedly helped the U.S. track down the al-Qaeda leader. Afridi was said to have run a fake vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and try to verify bin Laden’s presence at the compound in Abbottabad where U.S. commandos found and killed him. In the wake of Afridi’s arrest Pakistani officials have become increasingly suspicious of groups with international ties, and many aid groups have reported that it is becoming more difficult to obtain visas.