Dr. Afridi says he feels like the United States government used him "like a Kleenex."
Good luck getting help with the next terrorist.
Islamabad—A few days ago I spoke to the Pakistani attorney Samiullah Afridi over the phone, and he was worried. He had defended in court Dr. Shakil Afridi, the physician widely alleged to have fingered Osama bin Laden for the American hit team that killed the terrorist mastermind in 2011, and he felt ever more exposed as a target for Osama’s admirers.
Pakistani Lawyer Samiullah Afridi
Late last year, Samiullah Afridi (no relation to his client) quit the case reluctantly under a barrage of death threats targeting him and his family. On Tuesday he was shot dead as he returned to his home in Peshawar. A Taliban splinter group, Jundullah, claimed responsibility.
“It was not an easy decision to defend Dr. Shakil Afridi in the court,” Samiullah had told me when we had talked on the phone. “I knew the consequences from day one and don’t mind it,” he claimed.
But he soon spoke about the many troubles he’d encountered, and the many threats that he and his family had received not only from al Qaeda and the Taliban but, he believed, from the Pakistan’s intelligence agencies as well.
Pakistani Physician Shakil Afridi
Samiullah was deeply frustrated. Dr. Shakil had been hailed in the United States as a hero, and Washington pressured Pakistan to reverse the 33-year sentence its courts handed down. He is now awaiting a new trial. But Shakil told his attorney that he thinks the United States does not really want to get him out of jail, that if the Americans were honest they would have sent out a clear message to Pakistan to get him out. Samiullah said his client thinks he was used like a Kleenex by the U.S. then thrown away, left to survive as best he can in the hell of the Pakistani prison’s cages. (Continue Reading.)