Story highlights

Dr. Shakeel Afridi helped collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden's compound

Afridi and 17 other health department workers were fired, a department official says

The reason given was that they started a polio campaign without permission

CNN —  

Pakistan has fired a doctor who helped the CIA to hunt Osama bin Laden, a senior government official told CNN.

Seventeen other employees who also worked at the health department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were also removed from their jobs, according to Ishfaq Khan, the top government official of the health department.

Dr. Shakeel Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden’s compound to verify the terror leader’s presence there.

Khan said the reason given for firing Afridi and the other 17 employees was that it was a disciplinary action against them for starting a polio campaign without prior permission in Abbottabad, the town where bin Laden was killed.

Khan said those dismissed besides Afridi were another doctor, a coordinator of the health department, and 15 health workers.

Khan didn’t provide their names because of security concerns.

Pakistan has not yet decided whether to try Afridi for high treason for assisting the United States in gathering intelligence ahead of the raid, a senior Pakistani government official said in January.

“It’s the federal government who will decide whether to try the doctor for high treason or not,” the official said. “At this stage, the decision hasn’t been taken to try the doctor.”

The official did not want to be named because of the matter’s sensitivity.