Three female polio workers shot dead in Afghanistan | Daily News

Three female polio workers shot dead in Afghanistan

Health workers administer a polio vaccine to a child during a polio vaccination campaign in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Health workers administer a polio vaccine to a child during a polio vaccination campaign in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday.

AFGHANISTAN: Gunmen killed three Afghan women involved in a nationwide polio immunisation programme Tuesday, officials said, a day after authorities launched a new drive against the crippling disease.

The three women were killed in two separate attacks in the restive eastern city of Jalalabad, officials said.

“They were all on duty going from house to house to vaccinate children,” supervisor Wahidullah, who like many Afghans uses only one name, told AFP.

An official at the Nangarhar governor’s office confirmed the incidents.

A relative of one of the victims told AFP his niece had joined the immunisation programme to earn some money for her family.

“Gunmen shot her dead this morning when she was on duty giving vaccines to children,” said Haji Maqbool.

Farmer Saifullah, who witnessed the killing of the other two workers, said three gunmen had followed them before shooting them.

“The girls had stopped in front of a house and were knocking the door. They were carrying a medical box and some papers,” he said.

“The gunmen then came closer and shot the girls before fleeing.”

The Taliban and religious leaders often tell communities that vaccines are a Western conspiracy aimed at sterilising Muslim children, and they also suspect immunisation drives are used for spying on militant activities.

The killing of polio workers comes after similar attacks on March 2 claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group left three female media workers dead in Jalalabad.

- AFP