polio vaccination in Kandahar

Taliban Halt Polio Vaccination in Kandahar’s Dand District

The local Taliban officials have halted a three-day polio vaccination process in Dand district of the southern Kandahar province, according to local sources.

A local polio eradication staff, who asked not to be named, told Kabul Now that the Taliban local officials have stopped the vaccination process in Dand district. A source claimed that the local Taliban are pressuring the polio eradication staff to employ their relatives for the process.

The polio vaccination process was launched today, October 17, in Kandahar province. Around 600,000 children are supposed to be vaccinated against the polio virus during this three-day vaccination campaign across the province.

The source added that negotiation is currently ongoing between the polio eradication staff and the Taliban. But the talks have yet to yield any result, the source said.

Confirming the vaccination halt, a source from the local office of UNICEF in Kandahar said that the local authorities do not allow polio vaccination to run smoothly there.

Moreover, Hezbullah Fetrat who is heading the polio vaccination in Kandahar, says that around 44 percent of children are deprived of polio vaccination in the province.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries where the polio virus has not been eradicated so far. Insecurity is the main challenge for this program in both countries. The Taliban did create hurdles against polio vaccination in their controlled territories under the reign of the previous government as well.

This year Afghanistan has recorded a total of two cases of poliovirus so far.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had previously said that Afghanistan recorded the lowest rate of poliovirus cases in its history and it has the best opportunity to eradicate it forever. Afghanistan recorded a total of 56 polioviruses in 2020 and the number decreased to four cases in 2021, according to the WHO.