Pakistani physician, Shakil Afridi played a key part in helping the U.S. track down Osama bin Laden
Afridi was sent to Bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad to offer hepatitis vaccines in order to obtain DNA to establish identifies of the home’s residents
Afridi was arrested by Pakistani authorities and has spent the last seven years in a prison awaiting a trial that doesn’t seem to be coming
He was taken into custody in May 2011 shortly after bin Laden was killed by U.S.Naveay SEALS on the orders of the govt
His wife and children his only visitors since, hasn’t been able to see his lawyer since 2012, a member of his legal team was assassinated outside his home.
Afridi’s file mysteriously disappeared for two years, further delaying a court appeal that has yet to take place
A Peshawar jail deputy superintendent who has advocated on behalf of the doctor was also shot and killed.
Observers say Afridi has been caught in the middle of America and Pakistan’s worsening relationship
President Trump vowed to get Afridi released, but appears not to have made any headway on the cause
When it comes to breathing the air of freedom. the physician who worked with the CIA to track down Osama bin Laden has yet to receive a good prognosis. Shakil Afridi, [photo left], a doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, [right], has languished in a Pakistani prison for seven years.
During the hunt for the founder of al-Qaeda, the Pakistani doctor worked with the CIA to operate a fake hepatitis vaccine program in Abbottabad that was actually searching for DNA samples belonging to members of bin Laden’s family, thus confirming their location in the city.
Afridi in the guise of implementing the hepatitis vaccination program gained entrance to the compound, collected DNA from the people living there before the May 2011 raid that ended in Bin Laden’s assassination.
Shakil Afridi has been in prison since 2011 on charges of treason, but not in relation to his work with the U.S. government. Rather, officials claim he had worked with militants, a suggestion reportedly, even the Taliban find hard to believe.
al-Qaida supreme commander, Osama bin Laden, was tracked down – hiding out in a compound in Pakistan following a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade
He was taken into custody in May 2011 shortly after U.S. Navy SEALs successfully killed bin Laden on the orders of President Obama.
Since then, Afridi has languished behind bars, his wife and children his only visitors as he hasn’t been able to see his lawyer since 2012 while a member of his legal defense team was assassinated outside his home.
Deepening the intrigue, not only did Afridi’s file mysteriously disappear for two years, further delaying a court appeal that has yet to take place, but a Peshawar jail deputy superintendent who has advocated on behalf of the doctor was also shot and killed.
Freedom for the man who helped bring down the terrorist leader who directed the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks has become one of many promises President Trump has failed to deliver on.
Dr. Shakil Afridi [photo], has languished in jail for years – since 2011. Arrested after he employed the vaccination scam in an attempt to identify Osama bin Laden’s home, aiding U.S. Navy Seals who then killed the Jihadist.
While Americans lauded the triumph of tracking down the al Quida leader, Pakistan on the other hand, reportedly, were miffed that the United States betrayed their trust and cheapened their sovereignty with a secret nighttime raid that shamed the military and its intelligence agencies. The arrested and imprisoned a man who helped track down the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and exact justice.
in the words of Michael Kugelman, Asia program deputy director at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington: ‘The Shakil Afridi saga is the perfect metaphor for U.S-Pakistan relations,’ which he further characterizes as a growing tangle of mistrust and miscommunication that threatens to jeopardize key efforts against terrorism.
Afridi set up a fake hepatitis vaccination program to gain entrance to the compound [photo], and collect DNA from the people living there before the May 2011 raid that ended in Bin Laden’s assassination.
The U.S. believes its financial support entitles it to Pakistan’s backing in its efforts to defeat the Taliban – as a candidate, Donald Trump pledged to free Afridi, telling Fox News in April 2016 he would get him out of prison in ‘two minutes. … Because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan.’
That is quite an ask from a Pakistan government which has grown resentful from what it sees as U.S. interference in its affairs.
Mohammed Amir Rana, director of the independent Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies in Islamabad, said the trust deficit between the two countries is an old story that won’t be rewritten until Pakistan and the U.S. revise their expectations of each other, recognize their divergent security concerns and plot an Afghan war strategy, other than the current one which is to both kill and talk to the Taliban.
‘Shakil Afridi [is] part of the larger puzzle,’ he said.
Afridi has become toxic since he disappeared in 2012 and his wife and children are his only visitors. Not only have his lawyers been prevented from meeting with him, the file ‘disappearing,’ effectively delayed a court appeal that still hasn’t proceeded. The courts now say a prosecutor is unavailable, his lawyer, Qamar Nadeem Afridi, told AP.
‘Everyone is afraid to even talk about him, to mention his name,’ and not without reason, said Nadeem, who is also Afridi’s cousin.
Shakil Afridi’s attorney, Qamar Nadeem Afridi, who also happens to be his cousin discussing his client’s plight, in Peshawar, Pakistan on Jan 4
A suspect is yet to be named after an unknown person shot into Nadeem’s office several years ago in which. Another member of Afridi’s defense team was gunned down outside his Peshawar home and a Peshawar jail deputy superintendent, who had advocated on Afridi’s behalf, was shot and killed, said Nadeem.
Afridi He was accused under tribal law alleging he aided and facilitated militants in the nearby Khyber tribal region, said Nadeem. Even the Taliban scoffed at the charge that was filed to make use of Pakistan’s antiquated tribal system, which allows closed courts, does not require the defendant to be present in court, and limits the number of appeals, he said.
If charged with treason – which Pakistani authorities say he committed – Afridi would have the right to public hearings and numerous appeals all the way to the Supreme Court, where the details of the bin Laden raid could be laid bare, something neither the civilian nor military establishments want, his lawyer said.
For now Afridi spends his days alone, isolated from a general prison population filled with militants who have vowed to kill him for his role in locating bin Laden, said Nadeem.
Infuriated by Trump’s tweet, Pakistan accused the U.S. of making it a scapegoat for its failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.
The Wilson Center’s Kugelman advocated a ‘scaled-down relationship’ between the two countries. He said both sides need to agree to disagree on some issues and instead focus on those areas where they can agree to cooperate against terror groups that both regard as threats, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.