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Pakistani Militants Attack Police Guarding Polio Vaccine Teams


A health worker administers the polio vaccine to a child in Karachi. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic. (file photo)

Militants in Pakistan targeted police officers providing security for polio vaccination teams in two separate attacks on August 1, killing one and wounding another officer in the volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, authorities said.

Gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed a policeman returning home after security duty with polio vaccination workers, said Iftikhar Khan, the area police chief. The attack happened in the provincial capital, Peshawar.

A security officer was wounded in the South Waziristan tribal district when unknown militants fired at a police vehicle accompanying polio workers in the area, district police chief Shaukat Ali said. The attack occurred in the afternoon in the town of Ladha, Ali told RFE/RL.

In both attacks, members of the vaccination teams were unhurt. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan militant group claimed responsibility for the assaults.

Pakistan launched a five-day polio vaccination campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on July 30 to inoculate 3.7 million children.

Militants often target polio teams and security officers assigned to protect them. They claim that the vaccination campaigns are a Western plot to sterilize children.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic.

With reporting by AP
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