Following last year’s Navy SEALs operation that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden, reports surfaced of a controversial vaccination program that was created to confirm the suspected safe house of bin Laden.
The reports said that in March and April of last year, a Pakistani, Dr. Shakil Afridi, ran a hepatitis vaccination program in which nurses went door-to-door offering free vaccinations to children. Afridi, a health official of Khyber, was said to be recruited and in cohoots with the CIA.
The plan was to get the nurses into the suspected house of bin Laden, administer the vaccination, and use the blood taken and/or the DNA left on the used needle to identify if the children were related to bin Laden.
According to one U.S. official, the plan failed, but reports about the plan have enraged many observers — and may have widespread repercussions.
Afridi has been arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to jail for 33 years, albeit for a different offence (although most right-minded people seem to think it was in relation to his espionage activities), and is said to receive daily death threats from inmates. His status has created tension between the US and Pakistan.
And now, just days before 161,000 children were to be administered a polio vaccination (Pakistan is one of just three countries in the world where polio is still considered an endemic), Pakistani Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur has banned the vaccination program in North Waziristan, the New York Times reports.
Bahadur said he will continue the ban until the American drone attacks, largely carried out in North Waziristan, cease. His reasoning: this vaccination program could be just another covert CIA operation used to carry out more espionage.
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