Attack on Polio Vaccination Team in Pakistan Leaves One Dead

14.02.2015 14:01

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan —
Gunmen attacked a vehicle
carrying a polio vaccination
team in northwestern
Pakistan on Saturday, killing
the driver and leaving one
health care worker wounded,
according to police officials.
The attack took place in the
restive Khyber tribal region,
which straddles the border
with Afghanistan and has
been the site of a recent
offensive by the Pakistani
military. There was no
immediate claim of
responsibility for the attack,
but polio vaccination workers
are frequently targeted
across Pakistan by Taliban
militants, who view the
campaign as un-Islamic and
the health workers as
Western spies.
Separately on Saturday, two
polio workers along with two
security guards were
reported to have gone
missing in the southwestern
province of Baluchistan,
officials said. It was not
immediately clear whether
they had come under attack
or had merely fallen out of
contact in the remote area
where they were working.
“There is no proper
communication system,
which is why we are facing
difficulty in tracing them,” a
news report quoted a
provincial official, Nazir
Ahmed Khetran, as saying.
Hard-line clerics in Pakistan’s
most conservative regions
have long opposed polio
vaccination campaigns,
arguing that they are a
conspiracy to leave Muslims
infertile. But resistance to
such campaigns increased
dramatically after the 2011
raid by American forces that
killed Osama bin Laden in the
city of Abbottabad, amid
revelations that a polio
campaign had been used by
the C.I.A. as cover for
The continuing attacks pose a
serious challenge for polio
vaccination efforts in
Pakistan, one of just three
countries where the disease
is still endemic . Despite
repeated pledges to do so, the
government has been unable
to provide adequate security
to polio workers.