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U.S. renews call for 'Osama doc' Afridi's release

June 22, 2012 - Washington

The United States has renewed its call for the immediate release of Dr Shakil Afridi, who was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a Pakistani court after he was found 'guilty' of helping the CIA trace Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.

"They should release Dr Afridi. This is something that is so unnecessary and gratuitous on their part," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"My argument to them is that this man contributed to ending the Al-Qaeda leadership that was in their country, and they shouldn't treat him like a criminal," she added.

The U.S. also stepped up its pressure on Islamabad with a stern call to "do more" to get rid of the so-called safe havens inside the country from where militants stage attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

Clinton said the U.S. has made it clear to Pakistan that "days are over" for hedging its bets on militant groups like Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban or the Lashkar-e-Toiba against India.

"They (Pakistanis) talk a lot about sovereignty. Well, the first job of any sovereign nation is to protect your own people and secure your own borders. Therefore that's what they should be doing, and by doing so they would help themselves first and foremost, help the Afghans, help us, and others," Clinton said.


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