10/07/2013, 00.00
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Peshawar car bomb kills six people engaged in anti-polio vaccination

The dead are two healthcare operators and four police officers in charge of peace and security . The bomb exploded in the early hours of this morning and targeted the entire convoy. The volunteers were preparing to distribute the vaccine in a group of houses. Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is still "endemic " .

Islamabad ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Six people are dead and at least 12 injured after a car bomb exploded targeting a convoy near a hospital in Budh bher district of Peshawar , Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province , in north- west Pakistan . According to preliminary reports, the target was a group of activists engaged in an anti -polio campaign in the past subjected to threats by the Taliban . The long wave of violence and Islamic extremism continues after marking the city of Peshawar. The string of bloody attacks dates back to September with the massacre at the All Saints church, which caused at least 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries, while authorities and security officers remain impotent, unable to stem the escalation of terror.

The bomb exploded at dawn this morning in Peshawar killing six people , including four policemen and two activists from a local peace committee , engaged in the distribution of anti -polio vaccines in the most critical areas of the country. The bomb was activated as the operators were reaching a group of houses . Previously, the Taliban had attacked and killed some health professionals also active in the campaign of prevention against the disease.

Pakistan is one of only three countries left in the world where polio is endemic. In 2011, it had 198 confirmed cases, the highest number of any nation in the world, but in 2012, this was brought down to 58 through a vaccination programme backed by the United Nations. Islamic extremists could however reverse this progress. So far this year, there have been 27 confirmed polio cases in Pakistan-the third highest total in the world after Somalia and Nigeria.

Two powerful Pakistani Taliban militants have banned vaccinations in North and South Waziristan over roughly the past year because of their opposition to US drone strikes. Gunmen have also killed over a dozen vaccination workers and police guards in different parts of the country. Many suspect the Taliban of carrying out these murders, although the group has denied the allegation.

Militants claim that the vaccine is meant to sterilise Muslim children and have accused health workers of being US spies.The allegation gained traction after the CIA used a Pakistani doctor to try to confirm the presence of Osama bin Laden in 2011 in Abbottabad, not far from the capital Islamabad, under the guise of an immunisation programme. Children are the big losers in this war between the Taliban and the government.



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See also
Muslim ulema: Polio vaccination is permitted under Islam
Quetta bomb against anti-polio clinic: 14 dead
Peshawar, a priest at the forefront of anti- polio vaccination campaigns
In Taliban-controlled Swat Valley no more NGOs or polio vaccination for children
Taliban threats against immunisation raise polio epidemic risks in Pakistan


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