According to Pakistani and US officials, the notorious CIA operatives recruited a senior Pakistani physician in the city of Abbottabad, where it believed the al-Qaeda leader was hiding, to promote a false vaccination campaign as part of a covert operation to locate bin Laden, through his family members, and mount an attack against him, The Guardian reports.
“The whole thing was totally irregular,” said a Pakistani official, adding that, “Bilal Town [in Abbottabad] is a well-to-do area. Why would you choose that place to give free vaccines? And what is the official surgeon of Khyber doing working in Abbottabad?”
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has since detained the physician, Shakil Afridi, who colluded with the notorious American spy agency.
The development comes as Pakistan continues to grapple with the persisting spread of polio.
Humanitarian activists have voiced serious concerns that such fake efforts by the US spy agency will severely harm global health campaigns by generating mistrust of governments, foreign health workers and relief organizations.
“One of the great barriers to vaccination campaigns in these countries has been a stubbornly persistent rumor that the polio vaccine is a western plot to sterilize Muslim children,” said Mark Leon Goldberg of the UN Dispatch.
Pointing to the adverse impact of these deceitful tactics on health endeavors, he added that “this CIA ruse seems to confirm all the darkest fears that vaccination campaigns — particularly against polio — are part of some insidious American plot.”
US President Barack Obama claimed that Osama bin Laden was killed by American forces on May 1 during a military attack on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, near the capital Islamabad.
The Pakistani government has acknowledged that it had no knowledge of the raid on its soil before it took place.
The incident has exacerbated already strained relations between Islamabad and Washington which accuses the Pakistani government of collaborating with al-Qaeda elements.
Recently, the Obama Administration moved to cut millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan, which in turn threatened to remove its forces from the Afghan border if the decision is put into effect.