Afghan Taliban announce support for polio vaccination campaign

13 May 2013 - 11:10 By Sapa-dpa

Afghan Taliban on Monday announced they would support polio vaccinations, but warned foreigners not to participate in the campaigns.

The insurgents said they supported all programs "which work for the healthcare of the helpless people of our country."

The Taliban said the UN agencies working on the vaccination campaigns such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF should "employ unbiased people in the region" because of the ongoing conflict.

"The campaign should be harmonized with the regional conditions, Islamic values and local cultural traditions," they said.

The leadership directed its fighters to support the vaccinators and not obstruct them.

According to World Health Organization, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the last three countries afflicted by polio.

In neighbouring Pakistan, anti-polio health workers have been killed in the past. Islamic militants have issued strong warnings against the campaign, deeming it un-Islamic and dismissing it as a cover for intelligence gathering.

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