Pakistan orders retrial of doctor who helped find bin Laden
ISLAMABAD / KABUL
Samiullah Afridi (C), lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who was working for the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden, leaves after a hearing in Peshawar on August 29, 2013. AFP PhotoA senior judicial official has overturned the prison sentence of a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden. The official has also ordered the doctor’s retrial.
Shakil Afridi was arrested after U.S. troops killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi had set up a fake vaccination program in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify him.
Afridi was convicted in May 2012 of conspiring with militants in Pakistan’s Khyber tribal area by giving them money and medical treatment. Both Afridi’s family and the militants have denied the allegation.
But angry U.S. lawmakers saw the sentence as retaliation for his role in bin Laden’s capture, and last year threatened to freeze millions of dollars in vital aid to Islamabad. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced Afridi’s treatment as “unjust and unwarranted.”
Meanwhile, Taliban insurgents staged an evening mountain pass ambush on an Afghan police convoy patrolling a key highway, killing 15 officers and wounding 10 in western Afghanistan’s Farah province, the latest in a string of escalating insurgent attacks around the country.
The ambush late Aug. 28 came on the same day as the Taliban launched their most complex attack this year, a failed effort to overrun a NATO base in eastern Ghazni province that killed one U.S. soldier and wounded 10 Polish soldiers and dozens of Afghans.
In the mountain pass attack, insurgents fled unharmed after they attacked about 40 officers in the convoy driving on the main trade route through the province, Farah provincial spokesman Abdul Rahman Zhawandai said yesterday. And in another strike nearby, rockets killed six truck drivers and destroyed dozens of trucks that carry fuel for coalition forces.
The Taliban have escalated attacks in recent months as they try to take advantage of the withdrawal of foreign troops, who handed over security for the country to Afghan forces two months ago.