Report: Pakistan aid staff leave over CIA action

Pakistani children look out from their high vantage point, to see the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, after a U.S. military raid late Monday which ended with the death of the al-Qaida leader and others inside the compound. U.S. Navy SEALs swept through the compound Monday in pursuit of their target, bin Laden, and it is revealed Tuesday by White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan that the U.S. already was scouring through items seized in the raid, said to include hard drives, DVD's, a pile of documents and other items. AP Photo/Aqeel Ahmed

Pakistani children look out from their high vantage point, to see the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan
Pakistani children look out over the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.
AP Photo

Before the raid to get Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the CIA set up a fake vaccination program in the town where he was believed to be hiding, attempting to get the DNA of his family. Dr. Shakil Afridi, who ran the phony vaccination program, is being detained by Pakistani authorities, but has not been charged with any crime.

The blowback from the CIA operation extended beyond the Pakistani nationals left behind, however. Save the Children was forced to evacuate eight staff members after news of the fake vaccination program raised the level of danger for aid agencies in general there, The Guardian reports.

In addition to the eight evacuated staff, two senior staff members were moved to five-star hotels in Islamabad to help their security situation.

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The Guardian writes: "Western and Pakistani officials say there were fears that Save the Children staff could be picked up by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) over alleged links to Dr Shakil Afridi. Save the Children vehemently denies any links to the CIA scheme...and said it was the victim of a broader crackdown on aid agencies in Pakistan caused by CIA tactics."

While there may have been no direct link between Save the Children and the CIA scheme, Afridi did participate in two training courses with the aid agency in 2008 and 2010, The Guardian reports.

According to its website, Save the Children has worked continuously in Pakistan since 1979.

  • Joshua Norman

    Joshua Norman is a Senior Editor at CBSNews.com.

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