PESHAWAR: A Taliban ban on polio vaccinations will put 240,000 children at risk in afflicted northwest Pakistan if an immunization campaign does not start by next week, officials warned on Friday.
As a protest against US drone attacks Local Taliban and Pakistani aggressor Hafiz Gul Bahadur have banned polio vaccinations in Waziristan.
They have adjudged the immunization campaign, which is recorded to begin on Monday, as a cover for spying.
“There is possibility that we may have to skip the polio campaign in North and South Waziristan because we are not getting clearance from the army nor is the situation conducive,” a government health official told AFP.
“We have threats from the Taliban. Going to these areas for a polio campaign would be tantamount to putting the lives of our staff in jeopardy,” added the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Fawad Khan, director of health services in the tribal area, told AFP that at least 160,000 children in North Waziristan and 80,000 in South Waziristan would be affected if polio drops are not administered.
Dialogues are in process between administrators and the Taliban, but health workers had “not yet received the green light” for going ahead in Waziristan, he added. A senior security official said tribal seniors on Monday would discuss how to launch the campaign.
In South Waziristan, where the army fought local Taliban in 2009, the official said “it should not be difficult to vaccinate children at least in areas where displaced persons have returned.”