Afghan Governor Tamim Nuristani said that the Taliban have halted the polio vaccination campaign in a remote part of the country, reported Guardian on Tuesday.
The report quoted the governor as saying that the Taliban have controlled parts of Nuristan province for several years but had never before prevented medical workers from carrying out their activities.
“For the last two years, the vaccine process went on in the [Waygal] district, but this year they [Taliban] have stopped it,” he told the Guardian.
According to the governor, the Taliban believe that the vaccination programme is a problem in terms of religion and should be stopped.
A Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, refuted the governor’s claims and said that the Taliban have no problem with the vaccination as it was a health issue.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only countries left in the world where polio is still endemic. Extremist groups have recently targeted several polio workers in Pakistan while rumour about vaccines sterilising Muslims have also dogged efforts to tackle the disease.
There were 223 cases of polio in 2012, with all but six of these in Nigeria (122), Pakistan (58) and Afghanistan (37), according to WHO data.
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