Anti-polio worker shot dead in Bajaur

An anti-polio worker was shot dead in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) Bajaur district on Friday, police said, accusing terrorists who frequently target vaccination teams of being behind the attack.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries where polio, a debilitating virus which can cause lifelong disability, remains endemic.

Pockets of the mountainous border regions remain resistant to inoculation, with terrorists such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) involved in staging attacks on vaccine teams.

Police said that an anti-polio worker on routine duty in Bajaur was shot in the head by “unidentified persons”. “The attackers successfully fled on a motorcycle,” senior police officer Kashif Zulfiqar told AFPadding the coordinator was evacuated by helicopter to Peshawar but died in hospital.

He called the attack “an act of militancy” and said police are “conducting further investigations”. Another man was also shot in the leg and shoulder, and was being treated in a local hospital.

Last week a roadside bomb in Bajaur killed seven officers deployed to protect polio vaccination workers, police said.

Read also: Policeman guarding anti-polio team in Quetta injured in firing incident

Opposition to inoculation grew after the US Central Intelligence Agency organised a fake vaccination drive to help track down Al-Qaeda’s former leader Osama bin Laden.

The country is grappling with deteriorating security as it prepares to go to the polls in three weeks’ time.

Last year saw casualties hit a six-year high, with more than 1,500 civilians, security forces and militants killed, according to the Islamabad-based Centre for Research and Security Studies.

Pakistan has accused Afghanistan’s Taliban government of sheltering anti-Islamabad militants, a charge Kabul denies.


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