US Senate cuts Pakistan aid following Bin Laden doctor sentencing

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A United States Senate panel voted Thursday 24 May to suspend $33 million of aid to Pakistan following the sentencing for treason of a surgeon recruited by the US to find Osama Bin Laden.

Shakeel Afridi, a physician hired by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to collect DNA samples from residents in Abbottabad in an effort to locate Bin Laden, was convicted a day earlier to 33 years in prison. The doctor had set up a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign, which eventually lead to a raid by US Seals on Bin Laden’s compound and the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader in May 2011.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who had pushed for the reduction in aid to Islamabad expressed his frustration following Afridi’s sentencing, “ We need Pakistan, Pakistan needs us, but we don’t need Pakistan double-dealing and not seeing the justice in bringing Osama bin Laden to an end”.

Afridi’s lawyers say they will appeal the treason sentence.

Links to other sources: Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph