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Taliban ban polio vaccination in Spin Boldak town

Taliban ban polio vaccination in Spin Boldak town

Jul 06, 2017 - 19:45

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Talibaninfo-icon militants have banned anti-polio vaccination in Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar province, an official said on Thursday.

A credible source at the provincial Public Healthinfo-icon Department told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Taliban had warned anti-polio campaign officials against implementing the campaign in the district and the Spin Boldak-Chaman border areas.

The source said the Taliban had demanded appointment of their men as polio workers and removal of government-appointed individuals in the vaccination program.

“The warning is issued by Taliban’s shadow district chief Spin Boldak, Qari Khairullah, to the public health department,” the official said.

That was the reason, the official said, a vaccination campaign scheduled for Thursday (July) along the Spin Boldak-Chaman border had to be delayed.

Attempts at seeking comments from the Kandahar public health director and UNICEF office in Kandahar did not succeed while no

Taliban spokesman was immediately available.

However, an official in Spin Boldak district, who wished to go unnamed, said that anti-polio vaccination program officials had started efforts to resolve the problem.

The source said polio cases continued to surface in Kandahar and other southern provinces because of movements of people on the Durand Lineinfo-icon.

“The anti-polio campaign in Pakistaninfo-icon is very weak that has a negative impact on Afghanistaninfo-icon,” the official added.

Kandahar residents expressed concern over the Taliban threat and said the militant group should not play with children’s health for personal demands.

Abdul Shakoor, a resident of Spin Boldak district, told Pajhwok that more polio cases surfaced in Kandahar than other provinces.

He said polio cases could increase if the Taliban’s restriction continued.

Spin Boldak district is 110 kilometers away from Kandahar City on the Durand Line.

Kandahar acting public health director, Dr. Mohammad Azim Zmarial, had recently confirmed registering four positive polio cases in the country.

He said one of the cases was detected in Kunduz province and the remaining three in southern provinces including Kandahar.

One of the cases was registered among refugees returning from Pakistan.

The Taliban previously banned anti-polio campaign in Kandahar about two years ago, but later allowed the drive thanks to efforts of provincial public health officials.

mds/ma

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