Aid group denies link to U.S. intelligence in Pakistan

May 4, 2012 at 12:12 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 3 (UPI) -- Aid group Save the Children denied accusations it has ties to U.S. intelligence agencies in Pakistan.

A doctor the CIA recruited to help in the search for Osama bin Laden told Pakistani interrogators Save the Children played a role in his becoming involved with the CIA, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Save the Children, one of the largest aid groups working in Pakistan, completely refutes the allegations. Still, the Times said, the claims by Dr. Shakil Afridi have affected Save the Children's efforts in Pakistan.

The group said it spent $105 million on programs to help millions of Pakistanis.

But, following the interrogation of Afridi, the Pakistani government banned some staff members from leaving the country and aid supplies -- including medical supplies -- have been blocked by customs.

The CIA needs to answer for this and they need to stop it," David Wright, Save the Children Pakistan manager, told the Times.

Afridi was seen in some Pakistani circles as a traitor for his part in the U.S. hunt for bin Laden. That search ended May 2, 2011, when a team of U.S. Navy SEALs raided a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who ordered the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks on the United States.

Wright told the Times Afridi attended four training courses run by Save the Children and was turned down when he applied for a job in 2009.

Wright said Afridi's allegations about Save the Children and the CIA are "doing us a lot of harm."

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