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Aid workers caught in Pakistan-US spy war

The escalating spy war between the US and Pakistan is affecting foreign aid workers, writes Declan Walsh in The Guardian.

Aid workers caught in Pakistan-US spy war
An image of flooding in Pakistan, on Flickr

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Published: July 29, 2011 09:34 AM GMT

Updated: July 29, 2011 09:47 AM GMT

Last summer aid workers in Pakistan battled with epic floods that affected 20 million people, destroyed crops and inundated one-fifth of the country. A year later they find themselves in a very different imbroglio: the escalating spy war between the US and Pakistan. (Declan Walsh, The Guardian/The Hindu) ... Last month (June) a young American aid worker with Catholic Relief Services was brought to court for visa irregularities, imprisoned for nine days then deported. British agencies say their staff have fallen under the microscope of Pakistan's spy service, the ISI, with officials visiting field offices and introducing new restrictions on travel to areas that were previously accessible. “We've seen gradual restrictions on movement and longer processing time for visas,” said a spokesman for the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, which represents 40 aid groups. ... Aid workers in Sukkur, a southern city at the heart of flood relief efforts, started to complain of regular visits from intelligence and police officials. In nearby Jacobabad, where a sensitive airbase is located, agencies were told that visiting certain areas now required a “no objection certificate” — an official letter of permission. “The authorities have started paying more attention to who is in the country and what they are doing,” said Michael O'Brien, of the International Committee of the Red Cross. FULL STORYSpying suspicions hit aid workers in Pakistan (The Hindu) PHOTO CREDITDVIDSHUB on FlickrCC BY 2.0

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