Taliban block polio campaign in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Anti-polio campaign officials said on Tuesday Taliban had banned administration of polio drops to children in some districts of southern Helmand province.
Provincial health officials said 10 cases of the crippling disease had been detected in southern provinces in the current year, mostly in Kandahar and Helmand.
Earlier, authorities launched the anti-polio campaign in Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces. Inayatullah Ghaffari, director of health, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
But Militants obstructed the drive, he said, adding his department was striving to resolve the problem. The official said 7,000 children below five years of age in Helmand had to be administered polio drops.
He feared if the insurgents were not convinced, then 3,500 children would be left without vaccination.
Muhammad Naeem, acting governor, acknowledged the drive had hit snag but he could not say why the militants took the extreme step. Rebels should help resolve the problem because the campaign was a nonpolitical issue, he argued.
Rangin, a resident of Kajaki district, said he did not know the benefit of polio vaccination but asked militants to allow the campaign.
Qari Mashal, a resident of Lashkargah, the provincial capital, said the vaccination drive was launched for the benefit of locals and it should not be hindered.
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