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Polio supervisor gunned down in Pakistan

The Taliban has threatened the lives of health workers who immunise children.

Written by New York Times | Islamabad | Published: December 30, 2013 12:40:15 am

A health worker supervising a polio vaccination campaign was fatally shot and two others were wounded on Saturday when gunmen opened fire at a hospital in northwestern Pakistan,officials said.

The Taliban,which accuses the United States of using a drive to eradicate polio in the country as a cover for spying,has threatened the lives of health workers who immunise children.

Pakistani officials said two gunmen riding a motorbike had opened fire at a government hospital in Matni,a suburb of Peshawar,the provincial capital of the restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Zahid Gul,who was overseeing the vaccination campaign,was killed and another man and a woman were wounded in the attack. The gunmen fled.

Saturday’s episode was a setback to current opposition leader Imran Khan,whose political party controls Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khan this month condemned the attacks on health workers taking part in vaccination efforts. Pakistan is one of only a few countries where the polio virus is still rampant.

The Taliban’s resistance to polio vaccination hardened after the raid in May 2011 on Osama bin Laden’s compound in northern Pakistan,as revelations surfaced that the CIA had used a Pakistani doctor,Shakil Afridi,to run a vaccination campaign that aided efforts to locate Bin Laden.

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