Pakistan Fires Nurses for Aiding bin Laden Search

Health workers took part in phony vaccination drive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2012 2:48 AM CST
Pakistan Fires Nurses for Aiding Bin Laden Search
The scheme helped confirm that bin Laden was hiding in this compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

(Newser) – Pakistan has fired 17 health workers who unwittingly helped the US find Osama bin Laden. The workers—15 nurses and two more senior health officials—were employed by Shakil Afridi, the doctor who ran a phony vaccination scheme on behalf of the CIA in an attempt to confirm the al-Qaeda leader's whereabouts. The workers were not aware of the vaccination drive's real purpose, but Pakistani authorities say they have been fired because they didn't have permission to work with Afridi, the Guardian reports.

"I was ordered by the provincial government to take action against them," Abbottabad's chief of health services says. Afridi himself was arrested soon after the raid that killed bin Laden, and faces charges of treason. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the doctor provided very helpful intelligence, and has urged Pakistan to release him, saying he is "very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual," and that "he was not in any way treasonous toward Pakistan." (Read more Shakil Afridi stories.)

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