Six aid workers ousted from Pakistan

Sept. 6, 2012 at 8:49 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Six foreign Save the Children workers have one week to leave Pakistan after officials said they're convinced the group has ties to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Shakil Afridi, 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.

Save the Children, one of the largest aid groups working in Pakistan, denies the allegations though Pakistani officials said they have "concrete proof" backing Afridi's story, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Wednesday.

"Pakistan carried out a thorough investigation involving all our leading agencies," a Pakistani intelligence official told The Guardian. "It was one of the longest investigations in our history. It is a very serious matter and the foreign staff were asked to leave only after concrete proof was uncovered."

A statement from Save the Children Wednesday said it had "never knowingly employed anyone who works for the CIA, or any other security service."

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.

Save the Children said 2,000 Pakistani aid workers will "continue our daily work helping millions of children across Pakistan."

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