Moscow (April 30, 2018): The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) failed to conduct an operation to stage a prison break for Pakistani physician Shakil Afridi who had helped the US authorities track down founder of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden, said Russian news agency.
“The CIA planned to pull Dr. Shakil Afridi from the Peshawar prison, trying to organize a prison break, but the attempt was disrupted by [Pakistan’s] ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence]. A local informant who also worked for the CIA handed over information about this [CIA plan], and was aware of the plan. ISI became aware that [the CIA] was also interested in the plan of the prison itself,” a source who refused to reveal his name told the Russian news agency. The information has been confirmed by another source speaking to the news agency, who said that Washington had earlier turned to Islamabad with a request to extradite Afridi to the US.
“Special services protect the informants who had been disclosed in order to preserve the confidence of other secret agents and informants working with them, especially in foreign countries. Because of this, the CIA has repeatedly asked for [the extradition] of Afridi. This was one of the main demands on the list of requirements for Pakistan by President Trump,” another source said.Washington has offered Islamabad to exchange Shakil Afridi, who helped catch Osama bin Laden, for Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui who is serving a jail term in the United States, said sources.
The source went on to suggest that the release of Afridi and his extradition to the US is crucial for other CIA operations in the Asian region.“Apparently, Pakistan refused to release Dr. Afridi because of the army’s position, which believes that this will not only violate the sovereignty of the country and undermine its legal system, but will also bolster the [US] intelligence activity. Pakistan has also refused to exchange [Afridi] for Aafia Siddiqui.”
The development comes in the wake of reports that Afridi was transferred from a Peshawar prison to another facility. A source familiar with the situation said that the doctor was placed in another jail because of the planned prison break.