News / Asia

Travel Ban Imposed on Pakistani Doctor Involved in bin Laden Raid

A Pakistani commission has sanctioned the Pakistani doctor who assisted the United States in its raid against al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden while a U.S. Senator urges the U.S. cut off all aid to Pakistan.

The Pakistani government-appointed Abbottabad Commission said in a statement Tuesday that all persons involved in the May 2 raid that killed Laden would be banned from travelling abroad without special clearance.

Dr. Shakeel Afridi ran a fake polio vaccination drive in the town of Abbottabad in an effort to obtain DNA samples of bin Laden’s family.

Afridi is currently being detained by Pakistani authorities, but has not been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, Mark Kirk, a Republican senator from the midwestern U.S. state of Illinois said Tuesday continuing to give aid money to Pakistan is "naive" and "counterproductive.  Kirk, a naval reserve officer, has just returned from a two-week deployment in Afghanistan.

He accused Pakistan's intelligence service of supporting the Haqqani network, a terrorist organization fighting against the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Kirk recommended shifting the U.S. focus to Pakistan's rival, India, and working with them to help take over the rebuilding mission in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdraws its troops.

However, when asked about Kirk's comments, Illinois' other senator, Dick Durbin, disagreed.  The Democratic Senator says U.S. aid to Pakistan does not cost very much and eliminating it could push Pakistan closer to U.S. enemies.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States hit a low point after the U.S. raid against Bin Laden, which Pakistan sharply criticized as a violation of its sovereignty.

The Pakistani government set up the Abbottabad commission amid public anger over the raid.  It is tasked with investigating how U.S. forces managed to track the al-Qaida leader down and carry out the operation in the garrison town of Abbottabad without Pakistan's prior knowledge. It is also focusing on how bin Laden was able to hide out in Pakistan for several years without being detected.

In July, the commission barred bin Laden's wives and children from leaving the country.  Three of the al-Qaida leader's wives and children have been in Pakistani custody since the May 2 raid.

The commission is headed by a Supreme Court judge.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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