(WASHINGTON) — More than a dozen Pakistani nurses who were fired for their tenuous connection to a CIA plan to confirm Osama bin Laden’s location have been reinstated, a Pakistani court said Thursday.
Seventeen nurses were originally let go in the wake of the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In the weeks after the operation, U.S. officials revealed that a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, had run a vaccination program on behalf of the CIA in Abbottabad in an effort to collect DNA from bin Laden family members.
The ploy was unsuccessful, but after it was made public, Afridi was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for high treason and his nurses were fired. The Pakistani court that sentenced Afridi later released charging documents that claimed he was convicted not for his role in the CIA program, but for aiding a Pakistani terrorist organization — a claim the terror group denied.
When ABC News spoke to one of the fired nurses last May, she said she believed Afridi should be “publicly hanged.”
“We do not consider him a hero. He is a traitor, a liar and a fraud,” she said. “I put in 27 years of service…they have taken away my honor.”
As the nurses get back to work, Afridi — considered a hero by some U.S. officials — remains in a Pakistani prison.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dave Gilbert, CNN
Kareem Khadder, CNN
Lorenzo D'Agostino and Hilary Clarke, CNN
Steve Visser and Masoud Popalzai, CNN