CIA held fake vaccination drive to get Osama family DNA


London: The CIA carried out a fake vaccination programme in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city to get DNA from Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s family, it was reported here.

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Osama was gunned down May 2 by US commandos who undertook a daring raid deep inside Pakistan.

Guardian reported that the CIA organised the fake vaccination programme in the town as it believed Osama was hiding there.

It recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to carry out the vaccine drive in Abbottabad.

As part of the elaborate effort, the “project” was initiated in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, officials said.

Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, has arrested the doctor, Shakil Afridi, for cooperating with American intelligence agents.

CIA hatched the plan after American intelligence officers were able to track down an Al Qaeda courier, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, to Osama’s high-walled Abbottabad compound.

The idea was that DNA from any of Osama’s children living in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister who died in Boston in 2010. It would have been evidence that the family was present.

Afridi, the health official in charge of Khyber, went to Abbottabad in March.

The media report said that the doctor bypassed the management of the Abbottabad health services and paid hefty sums to low-ranking local government health workers who participated without any knowledge about the operation.

Posters were put up and in March health workers administered hepatitis B vaccine in a poor neighbourhood on the edge of Abbottabad called Nawa Sher.

Instead of giving the second dose in that area, the nurses moved to Bilal Town where Osama lived.

“The whole thing was totally irregular,” a Pakistani official was quoted as saying.

A nurse called Bakhto entered the Osama compound to administer the vaccines.

Sources said that the doctor waited outside and instructed her to take in a handbag that was fitted with an electronic device.

It is, however, not known whether the CIA got any Osama DNA. One source suggested the operation did not succeed.

The CIA has refused to comment on it.