Human Rights

Afghan Taliban to launch 4-day polio campaign to boost profile

Taliban will launch a 4-day polio vaccination campaign as the Taliban attempts to raise its profile.

The Taliban had previously banned polio vaccination teams in certain areas of the country, but they now need to demonstrate their ability to collaborate with international agencies as they seek aid for their struggling economy.

According to the Taliban-run public health ministry, Afghanistan is launching a four-day polio vaccination campaign.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are two countries where the polio disease is still endemic.
Vaccination teams face challenges in both locations, but those in Afghanistan have been unable to work in certain areas for much of the last three years.
Vaccinators have faced numerous dangers as a result of the long conflict, including kidnapping and roadside bombs.

There was also a Taliban ban on vaccination teams in areas of the country controlled by the Taliban prior to its takeover of Kabul in August of this year.

Some strict ministers claimed that the vaccinations wereun-Islamic or that the vaccinators were Western intelligencers.

This means that an estimated 3.3 million children have missed out on polio vaccinations since 2018.
However, the Taliban’s apparent U-turn appears to be aimed at improving their international profile and demonstrating their ability to cooperate with international agencies.
Such cooperation could persuade more countries to recognise the Taliban as Afghanistan’s government, potentially bringing more aid to the country’s struggling economy.

Dr. Qalandar Ebad, the Taliban’s acting public health minister, stated, “Without a doubt, polio is a disease that, if not treated, will either kill our children or cause them permanent disability, so in this case, the only way is to apply the vaccination.

The programme, which begins on Monday, is expected to target 10 million Afghan children under the age of five.

Nek Wali Shah Momin, a health ministry official in charge of polio eradication, described the task ahead as “colossal.”

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