ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is expelling foreign staff of the Save the Children aid group, an agency official said on Thursday, a decision apparently linked to government suspicion the charity helped US spies hunting Osama bin Laden.

The Interior Ministry had told the aid group that its six foreign employees had to be out of Pakistan within two weeks, said Ghulam Qadri, the group's director for program planning and communications. The ministry gave no reason for the decision, he said.

Save the Children and other aid groups have come under government suspicion because of media reports they had come into contact with a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who helped the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hunt down bin Laden.

Bin Laden was killed in May last year when US special forces raided his hideout in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad. Pakistan, while a US security ally, objected to the secret US raid as a violation of its sovereignty.

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