Bin Laden's Doctor Disappears

Dr. Amer Aziz, alleged doctor of osama bin laden ... spelling is correct CBS

Three weeks ago, Dr. Amer Aziz left his home in the teeming city of Lahore and vanished. The Pakistani government says it doesn't know where he is. But as CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports, some people think they do.

Supporters of Dr. Aziz have demonstrated their objections, holding posters with the words: "Free Dr. Amer Aziz" and "We condemn against the FBI and the Musharraf regime".

They think he's under FBI and Pakistani secret service arrest in a safe house in Islamabad.

Sources in Pakistan say the FBI is interrogating Aziz for being Osama bin Laden's doctor and also for treating a stream of al Qaeda fighters wounded in Afghanistan. They hope he may be able to shed some light on the allegedly frail state of bin Laden's health and also on the inner workings of al Qaeda.

The son of a prominent Muslim family, Aziz excelled at school. He was a member of a cricket team, a proud father, and a respected orthopedic surgeon.

"He was very normal, he was one of the best orthopedic surgeons we have in Pakistan," Wasim Akram, Aziz's former team captain told Palmer.

But in the mid-1990's, Aziz volunteered for medical duty in Kosovo. That, friends say, was the turning point. Witnessing the slaughter of Muslim refugees radicalized him. Soon after his return, Aziz became an open supporter of the Taliban in Afghanistan:

According to Saddique Azhar, a family friend and journalist, "He was close with Taliban, number one close in the sense that he was doing some creative things for them in the human fields, health care."

In Pakistan, sympathy with the Taliban is common. But Dr. Aziz was recognized as an uncommonly good doctor who attracted patients from abroad.

"He had some Arab patients … Not including bin Laden, I don't know," says Azhar.

Intelligence sources say he may not have treated bin Laden recently, but his alleged close contact with al Qaeda fighters could make him a key informer for the FBI.

If the Pakistani government has made a mess of his arrest, say his supporters, it is only under pressure from the FBI.

"They are nurturing hatred for the Americans all over," says Dr. Aziz's sister Leena Ayub.

Those are disturbing words in a country where anti-Western violence is a constant threat.
  • Sue Chan

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