Instead of being praised as a hero, as the one guy in all of Pakistan who actually did something to help find the world’s most-wanted terrorist, Shakil Afridi was sentenced today to 33 years in prison for treason. Afridi, working with the CIA, had carried out a free vaccination program in Abbottabad in early 2011 in an effort to get blood from children living within what was suspected to be the bin Laden compound. The blood would then be compared to that of bin Laden’s sister, who died in Boston in 2010, to confirm whether bin Laden was truly inside. Afridi reportedly failed in that effort, but he did manage to gather some other key intelligence for the CIA:
Pakistani security officials recently told the Guardian that although the nurses working for Afridi were not allowed inside the house to vaccinate any of the children, they did succeed in getting a mobile phone number for someone in the house.
The Pakistani sources say that phone call allowed the CIA to make a voice match to Bin Laden’s private courier, a man known as Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.
In other words, Afridi deserves a medal, or, at the very least, a trip to Friendly’s. But instead, the 48-year-old is being locked up for what may well be the rest of his life. “Pakistan,” according to the BBC, “has insisted that any country would have done the same if it found one of its citizens working for a foreign spy agency.” We get it — you’re not supposed to do that. But Afridi wasn’t spying on Pakistan. He was spying on a terrorist which the Pakistani government itself ostensibly saw as an enemy. Ostensibly.