The persecution and unjust imprisonment of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani hero who helped the United States locate Usama bin Laden, is the smoking gun that explicitly demonstrates the government of Pakistan is on the side of terrorism and radical Islam.
In May 2011, several weeks after the successful raid to kill bin Laden, Pakistan arrested Dr. Afridi, seized his assets, fired his medical staff, charged him with treason and held him without trial for a year. The whereabouts of his wife, whom we believe to be an American citizen, are currently unknown.
Because Dr. Afridi assisted the US in bringing down the world’s most wanted terrorist, responsible for the slaughter of over 3,000 innocent American lives on 9/11.
While a small number of administration officials weakly expressed concern about his plight, he has been abandoned by the US government, the same government he risked his life to help.
This is not the first time Pakistan has acted against the United States.
In fact, Dr. Afridi’s recent sentencing to three decades in prison is the crescendo of Pakistan’s anti-Americanism.
For the past decade Pakistan’s government has been playing both sides; they have publicly taken over $20 billion dollars in American aid money since 9/11 to allegedly help with the war effort against terrorism, while behind the scenes they have been using much of that money to support and coordinate insurgent groups (such as the Haqqani network that is now murdering Americans in Afghanistan), arm their military to fight India, and line the pockets of top generals in league with radical Islamacists.
It is despicable and unforgivable that Pakistan has not held anyone responsible for allowing bin Laden to live in a mansion in a major Pakistani city for years, but has put in jail the man who found him.
Despite plentiful evidence, no one in Pakistan has been charged with facilitating the deadly terrorist assault by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai.
It is foolhardy and self-delusional for the US government to continue to give money, hand over fist, to the Pakistani military and intelligence services who clearly direct and support terrorist groups to further Pakistan’s sphere of influence.
Retired Admiral Michael Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Pakistani intelligence directed the Haqqani Network to carry out an “assault on our embassy [in Kabul]” and said that “the Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.”
Pakistan is openly at war with the United States, yet the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge this fact.
Since last fall, Pakistan has closed all their ground transportation corridors to supply our combat troops in Afghanistan. This is harmful to our efforts in Afghanistan and has forced the Department of Defense to use other supply routes through central Asia, roughly doubling the cost of transportation to U.S. tax payers. Pakistan has offered to reopen their roads to supplies, but only if the United States pays a ransom of $5,000 dollars per truck.
In February of this year I introduced two pieces of legislation to directly help Dr. Afridi and to bring more attention to his cause.
The first H.R. 4069, would award Dr. Afridi the Congressional Gold Medal for his courage and outstanding acts to help our country. That bill is now languishing in the House Financial Services Committee and has not been voted on.
Additionally, I introduced HR 3901, a bill to grant Dr. Afridi U.S. citizenship; a sign that the American government has not forgotten him and will not forsake him.
Neither bill has yet to receive a vote.
Now is the time for Congress to do the right thing and bring these bills to the House floor.
Dr. Afridi has been waiting for help for over a year and the US Congress and Obama administration are failing him.
Congress is now passing appropriations bills that provide billions more in aid to Pakistan.
This is wrong.
Pakistan believes America is weak and foolish, because so far, that is how we have been acting. Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, we refuse to see the truth.
Our government knows what is happening, but it remains quiet, hoping the problem will go away.
This is self-defeating.
It is time to cut off all aid to Pakistan and to demand the release of Dr. Afridi.
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher represents California's 46th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.