Pakistan orders all Save the Children foreign staff to leaveAgence France-Presse . Islamabad
Pakistan has ordered all Save the Children’s foreign staff to leave the country within four weeks, in the wake of accusations linking the aid agency to a fake vaccination programme used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Save the Children said it had received no explanation for the order, but a Pakistan intelligence report has linked the charity to the Pakistani doctor involved in the fake programme as the US searched for the al-Qaeda chief.
The aid agency’s six expatriate staff have been asked to leave within four weeks.
‘Earlier this week we got a call from special branch instructing us to send back all expatriate staff,’ Save the Children spokesman Ghulam Qadir said.
‘There were no reasons given. We are working with the government to comply with the instructions.
‘We will continue to operate in Pakistan and Save the Children is currently serving more than seven million children with 2,000 dedicated national staff.
‘Our commitment is that we will continue to carry out our programme activities to meet the needs and rights of the children.’
Save the Children denied allegations that it introduced Afridi to the CIA.
‘On Shakeel Afridi, our stand is very clear that there is absolutely no truth in it. There is no concrete proof to these allegations,’ Qadir said.
No government official was immediately available to comment.
Afridi allegedly worked for the CIA collecting DNA in a bid to verify bin Laden’s presence in the garrison town of Abbottabad, north of Islamabad.
Navy SEALS killed the Al-Qaeda leader in a raid on his compound in the town in May 2011.
But Pakistan reacted with fury to the raid, which it branded a violation of sovereignty.
An official report prepared jointly by Pakistan civil and military intelligence blamed a former Save the children director for introducing Afridi to the Americans.
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