Pakistan: Save the Children must expel all foreign staff

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An internally displaced Pakistani boy shows his drawing as children attend class at a camp in Sukkur.

Credit:

Adek Berry

KARACHI, Pakistan— The Interior Ministry has ordered all foreign staff of Save the Children to leave within two weeks, a decision that is likely based on government suspicion that the charity helped the CIA to hunt down Osama bin Laden.

According to Reuters, Save the Children's director for program planning and communications, Ghulam Hussain Qadri, said that the Interior Ministry of Pakistan told the aid group that all six of its foreign employees needed to leave Pakistan within two weeks.

While the Interior Ministry didn't give any reason for the order, and wasn't immediately available for comment, CNN reported that an official from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry claimed that the decision was linked to "suspicions the foreigners had been working with the spy agency."

Qadri and the United States have categorically denied any involvement between Save the Children and the CIA.

However, the Guardian reported that Pakistani officials claim to have "concrete proof" that corroborates doctor Shakil Afridi's claim that the two were involved. Afridi is Pakistani, from the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, who allegedly ran a vaccination campaign in Abottabad. He was accused of using cheek swabs to gather DNA from bin Laden's children, Reuters reported.

Afridi was arrested soon after bin Laden was killed. 

Save the Children has been working in Pakistan for over 30 years.