Afghanistan: 3 female polio workers shot killed

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Three women working for the polio vaccination campaign were killed in two separate attacks in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, on Tuesday morning.

One of the incidents happened at around 11:30 am local time in Majboor Abad area Jalalabad’s district 4 in which unidentified gunmen killed a woman worker of polio vaccination campion.

In another similar incident less than one hour after the first attack, unidentified gunmen killed two other female workers of the campaign in Lal Qasim Agha area in Jalalabad’s PD7, sources said.

According to hospital officials, the workers named Basira, Samina and Negina.

Local officials have not commented on the incidents.  No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

This comes as the current year’s first polio vaccination campaign started on Monday. Officials said that Afghanistan ranks nearly at the top globally of reported poliovirus cases in the past nine years, second only to Pakistan.

UNICEF officials said that 56 new cases of poliovirus were reported in Afghanistan in 2020. According to UNICEF, 2020 was a bad year for Afghanistan since 2011 in which 56 new cases of poliovirus were reported.

The campaign is expected to cover 9.6 million children under five years of age in the country.

Acting Minister of Public Health Waheed Majroh called on religious scholars, tribal elders and warring sides to pave the way for polio vaccination countrywide.

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