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Doctor who helped CIA barred from leaving Pakistan

September 06, 2011

An aerial view shows the residential area of Abbottabad where bin Laden was found and killed by US commandos in a shock operation on May 2.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: A doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been barred from leaving Pakistan, a commission investigating the killing of the al-Qaeda leader said Tuesday.

Dr. Shakil Afridi ran a phony vaccination program in the Pakistani town where the al-Qaeda leader hid in an effort to obtain a DNA sample from him.

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

American officials want him released, and his fate has become a complicating issue in strained relations between the two country's spy services.

There has been speculation Afridi and his family may leave Pakistan if he is freed.

The government-appointed commission said Tuesday that Afridi and other people who are wanted for questioning are banned from leaving Pakistan without special clearance.

The commission has been tasked with investigating how bin Laden managed to hide in the army town of Abbottabad for so long, and the circumstances surrounding the US operation.

It is headed by a Supreme Court justice, and its members are a retired general, a former diplomat, a former police chief and a civil servant.