Officials believe Afridi may have known about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad and shared the information with US intelligence agents.—File Photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government on Thursday sacked a surgeon recruited by the CIA to help track al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, officials said.

The provincial government said they had sacked Doctor Shakeel Afridi on disciplinary grounds.

“The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has issued a notification of dismissal of Dr Shakeel Afridi,” provincial health secretary Ashfaq Khan told AFP.

Seventeen other medics who worked on the same fake vaccination programme set up by the CIA in a bid to confirm bin Laden was living in the city of Abbottabad have already been sacked, he added.

Fifteen women health workers were dismissed last August, and a woman doctor and an assistant coordinator were sacked on March 17, Khan told AFP.

Afridi, who worked for years as a government surgeon in the tribal district of Khyber, is in police custody. A panel investigating the bin Laden raid has recommended that he be put on trial for treason.

Officials believe Afridi may have known about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad and shared the information with US intelligence agents.

A report in British newspaper The Guardian last July said that Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples from the house where the CIA suspected bin Laden was living.

The United States was not 100 per cent sure that the al Qaeda chief was living in the Abbottabad house when President Barack Obama gave the approval for Navy SEALs to raid the compound on May 2.

The report said the doctor had been recruited by the CIA for an elaborate scheme to vaccinate residents for hepatitis B, a ploy to get a DNA sample from those living in the house to see if they were bin Laden family members.

Updated Mar 29, 2012 10:21am

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