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Pakistan Expels CIA-Linked Charity's Foreign Staff

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Pakistan has ordered Save the Children's foreign staff members to leave the country.

An official with the U.S.-based aid agency, Ghulam Qadri, told reporters Thursday that the Interior Ministry ordered six foreign employees to leave Pakistan, but gave no reason for the expulsion.

Save the Children is said to have come under increased government scrutiny following media reports that it helped facilitate meetings between the CIA and a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who is said to have helped the U.S. intelligence agency track down Osama bin Laden.

U.S. special forces killed the al-Qaida leader in May of 2011 during a covert raid in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.

Qadri on Thursday denied allegations that the aid group put Afridi in touch with the CIA.

Save the Children has been operating in Pakistan for more than 30 years and employs some 2,000 Pakistani staff members.

Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign to help the CIA obtain DNA samples to confirm Osama bin Laden's presence at a compound in Abbottabad. In May, a Pakistani court convicted the doctor of having militant ties and sentenced him to 33 years in prison.

The reported expulsion of Save the Children's staff comes a week after the International Committee of the Red Cross announced it was scaling back its aid operations in Pakistan following the killing of one of it staff members in Karachi earlier this year.

Article by VOA News