MIRAMSHAH: Militants in North Waziristan have announced that although the anti-polio drive will remain halted in the agency until drone strikes are stopped, their peace treaty with the government will remain intact.
Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesperson for warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur, said that the decision was made in a meeting of the higher council of North Waziristan Mujahideen.
Bahadur, a senior Taliban Commander in the North Waziristan Agency, had issued a decree on June 16 according to which polio vaccination drives in the tribal agency will remain banned unless US drone attacks are suspended.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ahmadi said that the US, and not them, should be held responsible for the ban on polio.
In a rather contradictory statement, he lashed out at the western media for stirring hype about minor incidents in the tribal region but at the same time commended the fact that the region was being given more attention.
“Our non-aggression treaty with the government will stay intact. Taliban will not violate the treaty nor have they done so in the past,” he said.
He confirmed that last week, pamphlets were distributed in the agency that said that until drone strikes were not stopped in North Waziristan, there will be a ban on administering polio vaccination drops. “It is our firm and final decision,” he said.
Citing the case of Dr Shakil Afridi, who helped the US intelligence find Osama bin Laden and ran a fake polio campaign in Abbottabad as a front, Ahmadi said that through such campaigns, the US will send its spies into the area.
He criticised the US and western powers for supporting polio eradication from the region while remaining silent over drone strikes that “kill innocent children and women” and are a “human rights violation and a severe crime”.
He also condemned the media for what he called biased reporting of drone strikes in the region and termed them traitors of Pakistan and Islam.
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