In a bid to obtain DNA from Osama bin Laden's family, the CIA organized a fake vaccination program in the town where the al-Qaida leader was believed to be hiding, a report said.
According to Pakistani and U.S. officials and local residents, a senior Pakistani doctor named Shakil Afridi was appointed by CIA agents to organize the vaccine drive in Abbottabad. He was even ordered to start the project in a poorer section of town to make it look more real.
The Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has arrested Afridi for working with American intelligence agents.
Ever since the Bin Laden operation, the relationship between Washington and Islamabad has become tainted, and the arrest of the doctor has added fuel to the fire. Being concerned about the doctor's safety, the U.S. is thought to have intervened on his behalf, Guardian reported.
The vaccination plan was made after an al-Qaida courier named Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti to be living in Bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, was tracked last summer by American intelligence officers,
In order to prove that Bin Laden's family was present, DNA from any of his children in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010.
This was the reason that CIA agents approached Afridi, who was the health official in charge of Khyber. It was the part of the tribal area that exists along the Afghan border.
In March, the doctor went to Abbottabad saying that he had obtained funds to give free vaccinations for hepatitis B. He bribed low-ranking local government health workers, who didn't know the connection to Bin Laden.
It was in March when the vaccine was administered by health workers in a poor neighbourhood called Nawa Sher on the edge of Abbottabad. But strangely in April, instead of administering the second dose in Nawa Sher, Afridi returned to Abbottabad and sent the nurses to Bilal Town, the suburb where Bin Laden lived.
Apparently one nurse was able to gain access to the compound, though it's unknown if she was actually able to get DNA samples from Bin Laden's children. Bin Laden was killed on May 2 in a raid.
There has not been any comment from the CIA on the vaccination plot either.