Taliban ban Kandahar polio vaccination drive
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Taliban on Sunday banned polio vaccination campaign in southern Kandahar province and warned health officials to avoid administering polio drops to children, health officials said on condition of anonymity.
The militants issued warning after a three-day polio vaccination campaign kicked-off in southern zone of the country.
Wishing to go unnamed because of security reasons, several health officials told Pajhwok Afghan News that militants banned polio vaccination campaign in Kandahar.
The officials confirmed the polio drive commenced in Nimroz, Farah, Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces except Kandahar.
The ban would deprive around 500,000 children less than five years of age of vaccination. Taliban banned polio vaccination when two children died after not properly provided measles vaccination in Arghistan district. The parents demanded compensation from the government and the militants banned the polio vaccination to extend their support to the affected parents.
Another official said Taliban banned polio vaccination drive when their recommended persons were not hired for polio campaign. Taliban said that the staff of the polio campaign was unprofessional and did not follow rules of health department.
Samim Khpalwak, the governor’s spokesperson, said he did not have information if militants had ever warned to ban the polio vaccination in the area. He added he would share more information once the investigations were completed.
Pajhwok Afghan News repeatedly tried to get version of militants but no one was available for comment. Residents of the area rejected the ban and asked militants to lift the ban since Kandahar was among the areas where ratio of polio affected children remained high.
At least 28 polio cases were reported last year and Kandahar remained on top with 13 cases, Helmand had 2 and one each in Uruzgan and Zabul provinces.
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