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    21,000 Kunar children deprived of polio drops

    ASADABAD (PAN):  More than 21,000 children could not be reached out for administering polio drops in a number of towns in eastern Kunar province owing to insecurity, officials said on Monday.

    Deputy governor Qazi Mohammad Nabi said around 21,781 children in Wata Pur, Marawara, Sarkano, Nari and other remote parts of the province remained deprived of polio drops due to security concerns.

    He said an anti-polio vaccination campaign had been launched in Kunar as part of a nationwide immunisation drive aimed at 138,000 children below the age of five years.

    Public Health Department official Dr. Mohammad Ishaq accused the Taliban insurgents of hindering efforts at providing polio vaccines to children in some parts of the province.

    He said the insurgents had previously agreed to allow health teams to give children polio drops after intervention of tribal elders, but once again the rebels were refusing the campaign to proceed in areas under their influence.

    No Taliban spokesman was immediately available for comments, but the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said the fighters had no problem with polio campaigns. However, he accused volunteers of spying on them under the pretext of polio vaccination.