US cuts aid to Pakistan over jailed doctor

Featured - May 28th, 2012

US Senators voted 30-0 to cut $33m from aid to Islamabad after a Pakistani doctor who helped in tracking bin Laden was charged with treason.

Shakeel Afridi, a former CIA agent, collected DNA samples from a fake vaccination campaign which led to success in the hunt of the Al-Qaeda leader and ended with his death. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the jailing of the doctor “unjust and unwarranted”, describing Afridi’s actions as not against Pakistan. Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, defended Mr. Afridi as innocent of any wrongdoing, saying “that has, frankly, outraged all of us”.

The incident has added to US frustrations over Pakistan’s reluctance to help fight Islamists militants in Afghanistan and its closing of supply routes to NATO troops there. The US says it will withhold military aid for Pakistan until the defense secretary gives assurances that they are not detaining people like Mr. Afridi and reopen supply routes for NATO soldiers. Pakistan was the leading recipient of US foreign aid.