The Taliban in North Waziristan has declared a ban on the polio vaccination programme in the tribal agency as long as drone attacks continue in the region. This ban was announced on Saturday through a press release which claimed polio affected only few in comparison to drones which killed large numbers indiscriminately.

According to local media, the statement said: “After consultation with the Taliban Shura, servant of Mujahideen in North Waziristan Agency Hafiz Gul Bahadur has decided that there will be a ban on polio campaign as long as drone strikes are not stopped.” The statement also argued the polio campaign was just a front for the U.S. to spy inside Pakistan and made a reference to Shakeel Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA confirm the presence of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad by getting his family's DNA samples through a health programme.

Reporting from Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan, Dawn newspaper said residents of 17 villages had already boycotted the anti-polio drive and people in some areas had snatched kits from health workers and destroyed the vaccines.

The boycott would deprive over a lakh children of the vaccination. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the last three countries struggling to eradicate polio. Earlier, terrorists in Swat had banned the vaccine on the premise that it was a Western ploy to sterilise Muslims.

More In: International | News