Life on the Line: Doctor Who Helped Us Get bin Laden ‘Rotting’ in Prison
O'Neill: We're Going to "Lose Sources" If We Don't Help Those Who Help Us.
The plight of Pakistani physician Dr. Shakil Afridi, was brought to light again this week when news broke that his former attorney was shot dead in Peshawar, Pakistan. Prior to the famed May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound, Dr. Afridi played a role in helping the CIA confirm bin Laden's presence in Pakistan by running a fake hepatitis vaccine program in Abbottabad. For his actions, Afridi paid an extremely high price: a 33-year sentence in a Pakistani prison.
Many feel the United States has not done nearly enough to facilitate Dr. Afridi's release — that we left behind an ally who helped us take out the world's most-wanted criminal.
The man who actually took out bin Laden by firing the fatal shot — former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill — sat down with FOX News Greta Van Susteren to offer his point of view on the Dr. Afridi predicament.
Van Susteren: "I think the U.S. can and should get the doctor out of that Pakastani prison where he has been rotting since 2012. We should bring him here to safety."
O'Neill: "I think he should have come out with us when we had the opportunity. I think the reason he didn't want to leave at first is because his family members were there. He didn't want to leave them behind — but he was grabbed at Torkham border crossing while trying to get out, so something went wrong. I think we could do more to get him out."
Van Susteren: "What do you think we could do to get him out?"
O'Neill: "One thing that they (U.S. government) did is take away $33 million in aid to the Pakistanis. One for each year of his prison sentence…more like a sign of protest. I think we can possibly do more. Get political muscle back. Tell them we want him back. Maybe even do some kind of a swap if they would."
Van Susteren: "Do you feel sort of like I do that we've left him behind?"
O'Neill: "I remember hearing about this guy when we were being briefed on the mission. He may or may not have known what he was doing it for…helping us on the ground in Peshawar and Abbottabad, which was a dangerous place to do that. Because he did that, we can't be leaving him behind."
“Why would people want to help us in the future if we get what we want and then we hang them out to dry? We're going to start losing sources by doing this.”
Van Susteren: "I'm sure he's learned in prison that his lawyer was murdered yesterday. I can't even imagine what's going on in his mind. He must feel that we've deserted him."
O'Neill: "It's one of those things. It happened with ISIS in al-Baghdad by the air base. They (ally Sunni tribesmen) were asking for our help to come get them. They helped us in 2007. We didn't help them. Why would people want to help us in the future if we get what we want and then we hang them out to dry? We're going to start losing sources by doing this."