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Polio Found In Afghan Capital For First Time Since 2001

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) administered a polio vaccine to a child in Kabul as part of a public-awareness campaign in 2009.
Afghan officials have launched a polio-vaccination campaign in Kabul after the discovery of the first case of polio in the capital since 2001.

The Afghan Health Ministry said a 3-year-old girl was diagnosed with the disease.

Although some cases of polio are still found in remote parts of Afghanistan, the case marks the first time the disease was discovered in Kabul since the Taliban ruled nearly 13 years ago.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

The ministry said the girl is from eastern Kabul and was diagnosed with polio in Pakistan, where she is being treated.

Afghan Health Minister Soraya Dalil told the BBC that opposition by the Pakistani Taliban to polio-immunization drives is "undermining efforts" to make Afghanistan polio-free.

United Nations agencies recently announced their intention to vaccinate around 20 million children in Syria's neighboring states after polio reemerged there for the first time in 14 years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said an outbreak of polio that has crippled 13 children in war-torn Syria was linked to a strain of the virus from Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AP and BBC