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Rediff News  All News  » News » Taliban bans polio vaccination in North Waziristan

Taliban bans polio vaccination in North Waziristan

June 16, 2012 18:09 IST

Taliban have banned polio vaccination at North Waziristan Agency following the incident of Dr Shakeel Afridi who with the help of fake polio vaccination campaign traced Osama Bin Ladin and his family. The Al Qaeda chief was later on killed by US marines in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

On Friday Taliban affiliated to Hafiz Gul Bahadur group in North Waziristan distributed a pamphlet, which says that there would be no polio campaign until there is a halt on the US drone strikes, and adds such a campaign could be used by the people spying for the United States to target high value Taliban fighters.

The pamphlet, a copy of which is available with reads, "Hafiz Gul Bahadur after consulting his Shura has decided to ban the polio campaign in North Waziristan until there is no halt to drone strikes."

"What is the need for such a polio campaign over which the 'well-wishers' are spending millions of money, as hardly a child among the thousands of children becomes victim to polio virus. While at the same time, the well-wishers (US) with the help of its 'slave' Pakistan are busy in targetting (us) with the drones. Hundreds of our innocent children, women and old men have become prey to such attacks," it says.

"The hovering of drone aircrafts in the area has made almost all the tribesmen psychologically sick or are on the verge of being patients -- drone are more dangerous than polio," it reads.

According to the pamphlet, "There is also a strong chance of using the polio campaign as a tool of spying against us; Shakeel Afridi is a leading example in this regard. So from Saturday, we announce a complete ban over polio in North Waziristan; there would be no reason for the violators to complain about the treatment they receive (from Taliban)."

Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world who still face an outbreak of polio on endemic levels. The lack of proper governance and accountability, together with local groups opposing vaccination, are jeopardising efforts to rid the country of this disease.

Tahir Ali in Islamabad